West Indies take on Australia later this month in a 3-match test and five ODI series. Our team that performs best at home will be looking to continue the good work that saw them drawing the recent test series against Sri Lanka and convincingly winning the ODIs against the same team.
The squad chosen for a 5-day training camp in Antigua shows no real surprises and reads: Sulieman Benn, Patrick Browne, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Fidel Edwards, Ryan Hinds, Amit Jaggernauth, Runako Morton, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith, Brenton Parchment, William Perkins, Keiron Pollard, Daren Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor.
Of course, players involved in the on going IPL, captain Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo will all feature in the test and ODI series. Concerns about captain Gayle have been mounting, as he, because of injury, did not play in any of the IPL matches. One wonders what impact his injury will have on his performance during the series.
This series will be very interesting as great challenges will face both teams and test cricket in general. With the current IPL in full swing, with the world’s best cricketers participating in this Twenty20 version, there is quite some apprehension as to response there will be to test cricket. West Indies has 4 contracted players with the IPL that will be a part of the Australia series while Australia has about the same number. Added to the Australia number are also 4 players who recently retired from international cricket and that might serve as some comfort to the West Indies team.
Under the new coach, John Dyson who seemingly had a positive influence on the team’s performance against Sri Lanka, he no doubt will be upbeat that there will be no Matthew Haden, no Glen Mc.Grath, no Shane Warne and no Adam Gilchrist to contend with. With these players absent, West Indies will certainly fancy their chances to make a huge impact. Players who have been on the fringe for a while will be looking to secure a permanent spot in the team while the most recently selected ones will be aiming for the same goal. However, with our inconsistencies and below average performances in the past, it is still not very heartening to the cricketing public.
Australia too will be concerned as they try a new and unproven formula, as no one can aptly fill the shoes of their 4 recent retirees in such a short space of time. Captain Ricky Ponting has not been scoring heavily of late and that will be of some worry when the series starts. However, being world champions for such a long time and with the cricket structure and disciplines in Australia, one would expect the new players to prove their worth and be counted amongst the others.
The series will be very interesting, as no bowler have dominated here in the Caribbean against the home team in the recent past. Our batting will most likely be focused around the reliable Shivnarine Chanderpaul while Ramnaresh Sarwan will be hoping to continue his recent good form. Meanwhile, Marlon Samuels who is still under investigation for his alleged inappropriate conduct with an bookmaker in 2007, is still not yet in the clear as it relates to his participation in the series. He is expected to face a WICB ethics and disciplinary committee on Friday to answer those charges.
Our bowling most likely will also be spear headed by Jermaine Lawson and Fidel Edwards while good and meaningful support from Darren Powell, Dwayne Bravo and the others will be highly expected.
Based on the recent trends, one will expect the home team to put up a good fight and have better results against this Australia team than they had against them when they were here in 2003.