SPORTS

Will Windies Coach Simmons Change The Batting Order?

Audrey you ain’t moving nice
You won’t take de doc advice
You know I suffering with de flu
De doctor tell you what you have tuh do
And now you telling me you don’t agree
With what de doctor tell you to gimme.

Lord Kitchener – Gimme De Ting

The Windies has mined gold in England over the past four days.

And thus far, the team’s performance in the first of the #RaiseTheBat three-match Test series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton is par excellence.

However, the fat lady is yet to sing, even though the West Indies has put themselves in pole position — an unusual, albeit a desirable one to place themselves ahead in the series.

Pundits and fans alike had expressed concerns about the batting even before the team departed the Caribbean’s shores.

That said, the boyz batted beyond expectations in the first inning, but there’s still that gnawing feeling among many that the batting order is not right. 

However, West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes if the West Indies play their normal cricket, they will take a 1-0 lead in the series, and that’s the gripe among followers of Windies cricket — therein lies the problem, playing normal cricket.

There are times when one must think outside the box, a paradigm shift in thinking.

The Windies has placed themselves in a position that demands nonlinear thinking, but is big Phil prepared to rise to the occasion?

The fact is springing a surprise on the opposition must always be part of one’s game plan, and a change in Windies batting order in the second innings may just be what the ‘doctor order.’

Innovation, however, has not always been part of the Windies field of play or their strong suit.

Some people would question the batting order’s tinkering at this time and be more inclined to follow ‘that’s how the thing set’ mantra.  

In the post-match briefing, Coach Simmons has argued that “All you can do is get the remaining wickets for as little runs as possible and then bat normally.”

“If we bat for five hours tomorrow to chase 180-190, then it is a normal batting day,” he said.

However, the contrarian view would be it’s not going to be a normal batting day on Sunday as England will be throwing everything, they’ve got at the Windies.

Therefore, given the first inning’s batting experience, what must now be done to throw team England off its game plan must be considered.

All the batsmen have called the pitch ‘dry,’ which could make it particularly difficult on the Test match’s final day.

So, I would argue for changing the batting order by replacing Shai Hope at number 3 with Shamarh Brooks or Jermaine Blackwood.

Of course, such a move would not make England shake in their boots, but it’s an element of surprise worth showing.

“It’s not a chase where you have to go at the bowling. We hope that in the morning, whatever roller is used, will flatten out the wicket so we can get a good start,” said Simmons.

The truth is the batters must go at the bowling as any poking around will lead to their demise.

“I think the confidence from the way we batted, the attitude towards batting in the first innings, is going to be a huge plus for us, batting in the second innings. Whether it be 170 or 190, it is going to be the same attitude that you will need to chase it.”

The problem with that argument is that it’s a different day and England will be not only hungry but also angry.

Will Simmons give us what the moment of truth demands or what ‘de doctor order’?

Nigel Bell, Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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