‘Ageing legs’ could challenge West Indies in “hot” UAE- former Batting Coach
By Akeem Greene
Former West Indies Batting Coach, Toby Radford strongly believes that given the extremely humid conditions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the factor of fitness must be a key consideration when Kieron Pollard and company select their Playing XI at the upcoming World T20.
In the West Indies 15-man squad, seven players- Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Fletcher, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell and Lendl Simmons- are aged 32 and above.
Gayle, 42, is the oldest.
Russell is currently nursing a hamstring injury in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
It is understood that the experienced Gayle and Rampaul- this season’s leading wicket-taker in the Caribbean Premier League- were among the players given fitness exemptions.
West Indies have a policy of players needing to meet the minimum standard of 40 on the Yo-Yo test to be eligible for selection or be exempted from that standard based on medical reasons.
The Yo-Yo test is a maximal aerobic endurance fitness test, involving running between markers placed 20 meters apart, at increasing speeds, until exhaustion.
Radford, speaking on the Barbados Radio programme, Mason and Guest, on Tuesday evening stated: “There is a fine line with having experience, and this team has a lot of experience; these are guys that have been there and won [T20] World Cups, but there is a fine line between having all that experience and tactical awareness and how it will affect you because you are more probable to get injuries, probably slower between the wickets, might be slower in the field.”
Radford contended that the key is finding a dynamic team, one which has the situational experience to play the game in the playing XI.
The Welshman, who served as West Indies high-performance coach in the past, further opinionated T20 cricket is a very physical game, and the conditions in the UAE are “incredibly hot” based on experience touring with West Indian teams.
Additionally, the coach highlighted that while the West Indians are probably not second-best to any team when it comes to boundary-hitting, given the larger grounds in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, “two and threes will be vital”, which will add pressure on the “older” players.
West Indies, the only side to win the tournament twice, will feature on the opening day of the Super 12s as they kick off their defence of the title in Dubai against England on October 23.
West Indies World T20 squad: Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran (vice-capt & wk), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher (wk), Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.
Reserves: Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Sheldon Cottrell, Darren Bravo