Radford says batting group on upward trajectory

Windies batting coach Toby Radford

GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Batting coach Toby Radford says he is pleased with the manner in which West Indies’ batting has developed during the England series, and says this is a positive for the side especially with the ICC World Cup looming on the horizon.

Pointing to the intent and the aggression, Radford said the batting group had made major strides not only in the just concluded five-match one-day series but in the preceding three-Test rubber which the hosts won 2-1 to regain the Wisden Trophy.

“I think we’ve been very positive and the mindset of the players to not let England settle and to take them off their line and length, to be very positive and put bad balls away [has been a great approach],” Radford said.

“To show intent all the way through the innings and we’ve done that and lots of people have contributed. I think we set the tone in the Test series and we can go back as far as Jason’s (Holder) 200 in Barbados which put pressure on England’s bowlers and we’ve done it all the way through the series.

“It would be nice in these T20s if we can do more of that.”

West Indies’ batting was exhilarating in the one-day series which they came from behind to tie 2-2, after the third match in Grenada was abandoned due to rain.

They posted their joint third-highest total in ODIs in the opener in Bridgetown in a losing effort and then topped that performance in the fourth match in Grenada, when they bowled out for an all-time best 389 chasing a record 419 for victory.

Veteran Chris Gayle, returning to the squad for the series following a seven-month break, smashed 424 runs with two hundreds and two half-centuries, to average 106.

In the final ODI here last weekend, he blitzed a 19-ball fifty – the fastest ever by a West Indian in ODIs – as the hosts overhauled England’s paltry 113 to tie the series.

With the same ODI squad retained for the three-match Twenty20 series which commenced yesterday, Radford said he was expecting the Windies form to continue.

“Hopefully we can take some of the same positive play that we’ve shown over the last five or six weeks into this [series]. The guys are full of confidence and we’ll be looking to dominate in a format that we’ve been very strong in over the last few years,” he noted.

“I think people can expect fireworks. They’ve already seen it in the last few games. Chris has probably been in the best form of his career. He’s played magnificently and so many of the other lads.

“We have some exciting young players like (Shimron) Hetmyer and (Nicholas) Pooran so I think we can expect a lot of really good shots and exciting cricket.”

Radford reiterated the position of selectors, pointing out that the current series was also being contested with World Cup preparation in mind.

“I think the intention here with the squad is to keep the squad together. We’ve got a World Cup coming up so we’ve got a core of players that the board is looking at with that in mind.”

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