BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Newly appointed West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin has expressed concern over his side’s batting, and wants to see a bigger effort in that department before the first Test against New Zealand which bowls off in eight days.
The Windies batsmen generally struggled in a three-day match against a Barbados Select XI which ended on Wednesday. Darren Bravo got 124 and Kirk Edwards, 50, in the first innings of the fixture at 3Ws Oval but no other batsman got a half-century.
“All the guys are putting in the work that is required leading up to the first Test match. We had the three-day practice match … our batters didn’t get their time out in the middle that they would have liked. The bowlers had a good outing, they bowled out the opposition quite cheaply,” Ramdin said here.
“In the second innings [our batsmen] had poor selection of shots. I would like to see the guys settle down and bat a bit longer. In the build up to the first Test … we would like the guys to put in the extra work.
“We have a two-day practice match and hopefully they can put in that work and try and bat some time in the middle as we get prepared for the first Test in Jamaica which is a very crucial first match.”
Of concern will be stroke-maker Marlon Samuels who gathered scores of nine and four, and left-handed opener Kieran Powell who got nine and 22.
Samuels struggled this year in the Twenty20 World Cup and in the limited overs series against England. He also looked out of touch against New Zealand last year, managing just 117 runs from six innings and in the previous two-Test series against India, scoring a mere 99 runs from four innings.
Injury doubts remain over talismanic opener Chris Gayle who was to seek advice from a specialist in Germany last week over a persistent back problem that hampered his form in the Indian Premier League.
Ramdin said there were some bright spots, however, pointing to the fit-again fast bowling pair of Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach, and the return of off-spinner Shane Shillingford and left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn.
“All these guys are very excited. They want to do well. I believe once they get the opportunity they will [do well] and put the team first,” Ramdin said.
The wicketkeeper batsman is leading the regional side in his first ever series as skipper, after taking over from Windward Islands all-rounder Darren Sammy earlier this month.
West Indies take on New Zealand in the first Test in Jamaica starting June 8th, before following up with matches in Port of Spain from June 16-20 and in Georgetown from June 26-30.
Ramdin said he had set some basic objectives for his unit in the upcoming series.
“I would like to see us improve as a team. Once we improve in all our departments of the game, we will get the results we want which is winning Test matches,” he pointed out.
“Once we win Test matches, hopefully we will win the series which is important to us. We’re playing at home so we have all the support that we need and we will have the conditions going our way. We just need to plan and strategise really well so we can be ahead of the opposition.”
West Indies play their final practice match starting Monday before winding up their preparation camp on Wednesday.