The two time World Champions of Cricket are a team in the making. The team has staged a recovery after the void that was created with the exit of some legends from their team like Walsh, Ambrose and others. Though not quite the same force that made the opposition weak in the legs due to some fiery pace bowling and flamboyant batting display, this present side looks better than what it was a few years back. A good combination of young players like Dwayne Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Smith and experienced campaigners like Chanderpaul and Lara has made it a strong side.
Brian Lara (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Ian Bradshaw, Corey Collymore, Jerome Taylor, Denesh Ramdin, Devon Smith, Lendl Simmons, Daren Powell, Kieron Pollard.
Strengths– Strong batting Order
Weakness– Lack of variety in pace attack and the absence of a quality spinner
The name says it all! Captain Brian Lara would have to lead from the front to help his team recover the lost glory of the 70’s and 80’s. With his wide array of shots, aggression and experience he can ‘tame’ any bowling attack. Lara presence in the middle order lends solidity and helps other players rally around him. A master craftsmen he can accelerate or anchor the innings depending on the situation. Certainly a great batsman!
He sure brings a breath of fresh ‘Gayle’ to the West Indian batting which at one point took the world by storm with some knockout aggressive batting from Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards, Desmond Haynes and others. The team after a long time has seen a formidable opening batsman who looks to belt the attack to all parts of the ground with his timing and forceful strokes. Not a great mover of his feet, he still is capable of tearing any opposition with this ‘lack’ which at times costs him his wicket. A handy part time spinner, his inclusion in the West Indies side certainly boosts the team’s hopes of conquering the World Cup!
An unorthodox left-handed batsman, he might not be the prettiest of batsman to watch while batting but he sure is effective to the core! Chanderpaul has played at different slots in the batting order and has loads of experience behind his back. Presently he is set to open with Gayle and blast his way at the top of the order, he affirms that ‘dynamite comes in small packets’!
One of the most gifted batsman in the West Indian lineup, he is also got the perfect technique and temperament to weather any storm. He comes in the middle order and can acclimatize to any condition or situation easily with his range of strokes.
The find of the West Indian team in the recent past, this young cricketer has proved himself at all levels of the game. A good batsman and more than a handy bowler, his exuberance and talent makes him a rookie for the West Indian team. No wonder Lara backs this youngster as the future of Windies Cricket.
The hosts will present a good challenge in this tournament but to expect what their predecessors presented the world with i.e. flamboyance, aggression and grace, would be unfair. Although the team has the ingredients required for a good outfit, it misses the penetration in the bowling department which has only one quick fast bowler- Jerome Taylor. This in the light of the Calypso cricket’s past when it had the like of Garner, Roberts, Holding and Marshall looks a bit jaded but still makes the team a good side which can compete with any other team under any conditions. Not to forget is the home advantage which the team would enjoy!