(Trinidad Express) Batting legend Brian Lara has predicted a tough England series for West Indies and says veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul needs to bat higher in the team in order to strengthen an otherwise inexperienced line-up.
Lara, the former linchpin of the Caribbean side’s batting, said Chanderpaul’s move up the order would help put the Windies in winning positions rather than his current role of salvaging matches.
He also described the current team as having fight and said they had the ability to spring a surprise.
“It is something I’ve not talked in public about but I would want to know why. If he (Chanderpaul) can be so consistent, why he wouldn’t say, ‘let me bat with some more experienced, talented players up the order’,” Lara told British newspapers here.
“That’s not only going to benefit him but it would help the team. Your best batter is going to be at number three—he is the one who is going to lay the foundations to win a match. If your best batter is coming in at five, repairing damage, I don’t understand the logic in it.”
Chanderpaul is the side’s most experienced batsman, having played 140 Tests and accumulating 10,055 runs at an average of 50.
In an international career spanning 18 years, the 37-year-old has amassed 25 Test centuries and is only one behind the incomparable Sir Garry Sobers and Lara, who tops the list with 34.
In the last series against Australia, he mustered 346 runs to move back to the top of the International Cricket Council Test batting rankings.
Lara, who holds the records for the highest scores in Test and first-class cricket, contended that the unproven Windies top order needed that bit of experience especially in the unfamiliar English conditions.
“If I was going to be a little critical of the batting line-up at the moment it would be that the top four lack experience,” said the left-hander, who plundered 11 953 runs during his 131-Test career.
“I would like to see Chanderpaul or Marlon Samuels—two guys who have 10 years of experience—maybe jump up to number three. The younger players, very talented, batting around him would enable them to learn. Not a lot of experience in English conditions is not a good thing.”
West Indies face England at Lord’s in the opening Test starting today, with pundits already writing off the Caribbean side’s chances.
When the tourists were last here three years ago, they were demolished in the two-Test series—losing the first at Lord’s by 10 wickets inside three days and the second at Chester-le-Street by an innings.
Lara said that despite the West Indies’ inexperience and the patchy build-up to the Test series, however, they still possessed the capacity to surprise the English.
“We have always had very talented young cricketers and that has never disappeared from West Indian cricket. How that talent is taken forward either personally or by the cricket board is a different story,” the former captain said.
“This team is full of talent—we have some very good young player—in both departments. For this particular tour I think it is going to be very tough, for them especially with the weather conditions and the lack of preparation.
“We are fighting, though. It is a pretty young team but it is one that has something in it that could go forward. I have a funny feeling that we are going to impress you over this summer.”