Sky the limit for young bowling group, says Drakes

Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph … a member of the young Windies bowling group.

GROS ISLET, St Lucia,  CMC – West Indies assistant coach Vasbert Drakes, who is responsible for the bowling group and has overseen the recent amazing performances of the young brigade, believes the “sky is the limit” for the reinvigorated unit.

The former West Indies all-rounder said he was proud of the team’s 2-0 series triumph over England in the current series, a victory which had proven many naysayers wrong.

West Indies took victory by 381 runs in the Barbados first Test and pulled off a 10-wicket win in the second affair in Antigua last weekend.

With one match left to be played here starting Saturday, the home side have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

“The sky is the limit for this side as they continue to grow,” Drakes told reporters.

  “The guys understand the legacy of West Indies cricket and they want to continue to inspire the next generation of cricketers to play the game. The guys are playing really good cricket. I’m really proud as a former West Indies cricketer. All kudos to the players.”

The 49-year-old Barbadian was speaking ahead of Wednesday’s training session at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, where the two teams will meet in the final contest.

After reclaiming the Wisden Trophy for the first time since 2009 when Chris Gayle’s men won 1-0 on home soil, the Windies will be looking to make a clean sweep.

“We are all really looking forward to playing in St Lucia,” said Drakes, who played 12 Tests and 34 ODIs.

“It reminds me of the wickets that were prepared for us, the West Indians, in the 1970s and ’80s. That’s the environment we are trying to create. The objective is to make sure we have pace.

“Kemar Roach has really started to mature as a bowler and Shannon Gabriel has the X-factor for us. I’m really excited to be part of this squad where we continue to put fear in opposition hearts. I wouldn’t use the words so strong to say intimidate with pace but when you have pace, as someone who played the game as a fast bowler, it gives you a little more options of being able outfox the batters.

“At the moment that’s what we have in our favour so we are re going to utilise it to our advantage on the cricket field.”

Roach has been the leading bowler in the series with 13 wickets at 12 runs apiece. He took five for 13 in Barbados as England were bundled out for 77 in the first innings and had match figures of eight for 82 in Antigua to claim the Man-of-the-Match award.

Drakes added that he was excited to see the next generation emerge and was backing whomever was selected to replace captain Jason Holder in the starting line-up.

Holder, the number one ranked Test all-rounder, was suspended by the ICC due to his team’s slow over-rate and will be replaced by either uncapped 22-year-old fast bowler Oshane Thomas or 20-year-old all-rounder Keemo Paul.

“I saw that him (Thomas) five years ago and I thought he would be one for the future,” Drakes noted.

“It is a bit unfortunate for Jason, but those are the rules we have to live with. We might question it but that’s a different discussion. It just opens up a spot for Oshane or whoever the selectors decide to go for. Our future looks bright, the sky is the limit.”

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