‘What weakness?’: Brathwaite on WI facing ‘short ball’


By Akeem Greene

Remember the days of Joel Garner, Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, and other fearsome West Indies fast bowlers being a nightmare to the opposition batsmen with menacing short-pitched bowling?

Well, the current group of West Indies batsmen is at the receiving end in the modern era. Not to say they were not in yesteryears, but it was brutally dealt with. ‘Fire’ met ‘fire’ in those days.

However, Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite is on the opposing end to the view that his fellow batsmen are struggling against the short-ball.

“I don’t think that is the case, South Africa bowled well and I thought, as I said, we didn’t bat well in the first innings, and we could have left some of the deliveries. We got to be tough in any Test team, as a batsman you got to be tough whether it is pacers or spinners you are facing and I think the batsmen are in good space, but I wouldn’t say it is the pace and bounce,” he expressed at Thursday’s pre-match press brief.

He added, “Obviously, South Africa has a very good bowling attack, but I know our batters are fully capable of doing well.”

Kyle Mayers of West Indies is hit on the shoulder by Dushmantha Chameera of Sri Lanka during Day Four of the 2nd Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka at Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda, on April 1, 2021. (Photo by Randy Brooks/AFP)

The likes of Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, and Lungi Ngidi are the ones who are making most of the bouncy conditions in St. Lucia.

Of the 20 West Indies wickets to fall, the trio took 18, and more of their hostility is expected when the second Test starts Friday.

In hindsight, the skipper felt they could have left more balls and find a better balance of attack and defence.

“That first-innings really hurt us and as a team, we are always on the back foot and the batsmen know what they have to do. We got to be better in both innings but [more in] the first innings in terms of setting up the game. We know as batters what we have to do and we look forward to the challenge.”

West Indies were bundled out on the first day for just 97 in 40.5 overs with Jason Holder top-scoring with 20.

Between 2000 and 2021, it was the seventh occasion they were bowled out for below 100 in a Test match.

Meanwhile, South Africa’ captain, Dean Elgar, said he expects West Indies to come back hard in this match, but his eyes are set on ensuring they get a series victory after an innings and 63-run victory in the first Test.

“I have been around long enough now to realise how teams bounce back when you come to their home country and they get a beating. I know what they are going to respond with…I definitely expect them to bounce back. Trust me, I am definitely not taking that for granted, I know they will come back with a plan. They got a lot of pride in their squad and I am sure they were hurting after that first Test loss,” Elgar stated on the eve of the Test.

West Indies Test squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood (Vice-Captain), Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales.

South Africa Test squad: Dean Elgar (capt), Temba Bavuma (vice-capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Sarel Erwee, Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Anrich Nortje, Keegan Peterson, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lizaad Williams, Prenelan Subrayen, Marco Jansen.

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