Blogs & Opinion


Michael Holding:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Too tough a Test?

Able youngsters being thrust in at the deep end, says Mikey

Michael Holding Posted 10th May 2012 view comments

If you're a West Indies fan looking for some good news about the team's Test chances against England, you've come to the wrong place!

While a lot of people in the Caribbean are encouraged by the way the team played against Australia, there's no escaping the fact that Michael Clarke's side is a very ordinary team and they still won the series 2-0.

Lead role: Roach took 19 wickets at 19.73 apiece against Australia

Lead role: Roach took 19 wickets at 19.73 apiece against Australia

As I said to one Australian journalist, if that side had been playing England for the Ashes this summer they would not come close to drawing a game.

Yes, the West Indies were more competitive and produced passages of quality cricket, but I don't believe that the current side is very strong.

To be honest, I expect them to be properly thrashed by England - an outstanding team that is close to having a great bowling attack.

Two victories in 19 Tests is bad by anyone's standards - it certainly isn't a record to be proud of.

Michael Holding
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
England v West Indies, First Test

10am, Thu, Sky Sports 1 HD
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

I just don't see how the majority of the batsmen - playing in English conditions they are unaccustomed to - will stand up to an attack that has lifted England to the top of the rankings.

Two victories in 19 Tests is bad by anyone's standards - it certainly isn't a record to be proud of.

Convince

However, things would be very different if everyone who is eligible to play for the West Indies was considered for selection.

The issues surrounding the absence of some of the team's best players are well documented; with the likes of Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo on board the West Indies would be a match for anyone.

And then there are people like Jerome Taylor who have pretty much been banished by the West Indies Cricket board; the last Test series the West Indies won was against England in 2009 and England won't need reminding of the part that Taylor played at Sabina Park.

At full-strength I'd back the West Indies to be competitive against England and beat the current Australia side; Ricky Ponting is well past his prime and while Clarke is a fantastic cricketer and a great batsman, the team lacks depth.

Mike Hussey is a very good player but he's not a youngster, while Shane Watson is a good all-rounder but not a world-beater. The spin options are very ordinary, the seamers kept breaking down while the openers simply weren't good enough.

In many ways Ottis Gibson only has himself to blame because one of the first things he did when he was appointed in 2010 was clear out the senior players.

He wanted to start with a brand new team - it was as if he wasn't satisfied with the attitude and commitment of some of the senior players. He wanted to start over.

When you take that approach you have to rely on your youngsters but the reality is that it takes a very, very long time to build a team.

Most sides have players or squad members who can be difficult at times but the answer isn't simply to get rid of them - otherwise you get nowhere.

What you need to do is convince the senior players that your way is the way to go. That is what man-management is all about. Tackling issues head on and bringing players back into the fold. If you can't do that then you do have a serious problem.

Ability

Apart from man-of-the-series Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who scored 346 runs at 86.50, the other stand out performer in Australia was Kemar Roach.

Shane Shillingford came in and bowled very well in the last two Test matches but Roach was head-and-shoulders above everybody else in the bowling department.

There's no doubt that some of the young guys in this squad have a fair amount of ability but it is going to take them a long time to develop properly.

This tour has probably come at the wrong time for several of them and there is a real chance that they will get a little deflated.

Take Kieran Powell, for example. I think he has a pretty good technique and should develop into a good Test cricketer but I don't think he is quite ready for this challenge yet.

If the more inexperienced players were shielded a bit, if they were being brought into the team one at a time and helped along by the more senior players, it would stand them in far greater stead for the long-term.

Instead, they are being thrust in at the deep end and haven't been given the opportunity to learn the game.

back to top

Other Cricket Experts:

Latest Posts in Cricket:

Bob Willis

Away for a while

Bob Willis thinks Jonathan Trott will be absent from England duty for some time following his relapse....

Latest News RSS feeds

England confirm Farbrace deal

England have confirmed Paul Farbrace has been appointed assistant to new head coach Peter Moores.

Root return is cut short

Joe Root's return to the crease was a short-lived affair as he made just eight for Yorkshire's Second XI.

Cook: No Farbrace fall-out

Alastair Cook believes there will be no animosity between England and Sri Lanka following Paul Farbrace's defection.

Div One: Yorks ease to victory

Yorkshire completed an innings victory over Northamptonshire as rain saved Lancashire from defeat at Old Trafford.

Div Two: Cook's capital gains

Alastair Cook was again in the runs in LV= County Championship action as all four Division Two fixtures ended in draws.

Features

NatWest T20 Blast: vote for your favourite tune from smash-hit shortlist

NatWest T20 Blast: vote for your favourite tune from smash-hit shortlist

This summer's NatWest T20 Blast will be packed full of hits - and you can play your part!

Paul Farbrace factfile

Paul Farbrace factfile

We look at the professional career of Paul Farbrace as he looks set to swap Sri Lanka for England assistant coaching role.

Indian Premier League: Watch the best bits of this year's tournament on Sky Sports

Indian Premier League: Watch the best bits of this year's tournament on Sky Sports

Watch Kevin Pietersen's return to action - and the best of the rest of the Indian Premier League - right here on skysports.com.