SPORTS

Will Windies Pacers Make The Englishmen Jump?

Jump, jump

You should know, you should know that ahhh

Kris Kross is not having anything today

As we stand there totally krossed out

We commence to make you

Kris Kros

It’s now over a year since team England visited the Caribbean. They played back then, three Tests, five One Day Internationals (ODIs), and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches.

The West Indies won the first two Test matches, taking an unassailable lead in the series, thus having the bragging rights of keeping the Wisden Trophy. 

It was also a momentous occasion for the Windies as it was their first Test series win against England since 2009.

The ODI series ended in a draw with a 2–2 result after the third match was washed out. 

England, however, won the T20I series in a 3–nil clean sweep.

The Windies owed their sterling performance to a large extent during the series to their pace bowlers.

Windies quicks picked up 44 wickets out of a total of 60 wickets; in other words, the pacers snatched more than 70% of the total number of wickets.

The pace attack back then was led by Kemar Roach and an equally contributing Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel, and their captain Jason Holder.

Kemar Roach was adjudged man of the series in the Test series. He picked up 18 scalps, while Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel, and Jason Holder picked up 10, 9, and 7, respectively.

Now fast forward to the current squad in England.

There is a battery of fast bowlers with pace like fire, and if they do not get carried away with the blaze, the England team could be tormented by the heat from the calypso boyz.

This is how assistant coach Roddy Estwick sees the ferocious attack under his care according to press reports:

“We’re beginning to get blessed with fast bowlers again in the West Indies, so that’s an exciting time for us. So, we’re looking forward to this series and looking forward to seeing how the fast bowlers go.”

Furthermore, he said that the current fast bowlers’ fitness is on par with that of the pacers’ attack in the ’70 and ’80s.

“The fast bowling is very key to us,” Estwick said. “Shannon, Jason, Alzarri, Kemar. The four big fast bowlers, they’re here but what we’ve [also] got on this tour is a group of youngsters coming through Chemar Holder, Oshane Thomas, and Anderson Phillip.

However, the question is, will Windies Boyz make the English lads jump?

 Certainly, Estwick thinks so, “We’ve got four fast bowlers where we can challenge any team in the world,” he reportedly said.

The English pitches are not as bouncy as that of the Caribbean; instead, they are famous for their swinging effect. Bowlers try to bowl fuller lengths to trouble the batsmen through the swing.

Kemar Roach is the most experienced bowler in the Windies contingent, playing Test cricket since 2009. Roach has featured in 56 Test matches and picked up 193 wickets. 

His serious pace and ability to bowl lethal bouncers will help him in England. He has also played for his County team Worcestershire, which will also put him in good stead.

Alzarri Joseph, a rising Windies star, is a young, quick, and serious pace bowler. The tour will mark his first visit in the English territory, but the Antiguan born has all the skills to prove his worthy selection. “Alzarri Joseph is now beginning to show his potential,” posited Estwick.

He also argued that “Jason Holder has become a lot better Test match bowler in the last two years,” and one sees this in his performance — a strike rate of 45.9, an average of 20.23, and 65 wickets in 17 Tests.

Shannon Gabriel underwent ankle surgery last November and is placed on the reserve list but could still come into contention if he can prove his fitness. After all, he gave England a warm time in the tropics in his last outing against them.

Apart from the big four, Windies will also have the services of another young, quick-pace bowler, Oshane Thomas.

Standing at 6 feet, 6 inches tall, broad-shouldered, and thickly muscled, Thomas is endowed with all the physical attributes of becoming a menacing fast bowler.

He came to prominence when he clocked deliveries of 97 miles an hour during a Caribbean Premier League game in 2017 for the Jamaica Tallawahs against St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots.

He grabbed three wickets back then, which included the scalps of Chris “Universe Boss” Gayle and Carlos “Mr. Big Six” Brathwaite.

Thomas is yet to make his Test debut but had a man of the match performance against Pakistan in the ICC World Cup last year in England, picking up four wickets.

Another deceptively skilled fast bowler at the Windies disposal is Chemar Holder, Coach Phil Simmons describes him as a potential “great of West Indies cricket.” The former West Indies Under-19 World Cup-winning fast bowler is young, fresh, and green, but has all the attributes to make a big difference if given a run against the English batters.

Also, on the reserve list are Anderson Phillip and Keon Harding, both noticeably young but full of raw pace could prove their worth if the opportunity arises in England.

The English conditions are very different from the Caribbean, but with Windies pace attack and supporting batsmen, the team will be no wallflower in England.

And in the days of old, the series would be declared a war, ask Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, KNH, OBE.

Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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