Roston Chase will have realised that all does not bode well for the West Indies in their bowling department, after they were held to a draw in a three-day friendly against a New Zealand “A” team.
The stand-in captain for this warm-up match saw his bowlers blunt and pick up just four wickets in the warm-up match at the picturesque John Davies Oval in Queenstown.
Admittedly it was a hard, true pitch. But after the hosts raced away to score over 300 in the opening day for the loss of three wickets, it was pretty obvious that the Windies seem to be repeating their struggles that cost them dearly in the trio of Tests against England in July.
Yet New Zealand “A” had no such problems to skittle out the Windies, despite the resilience of a masterclass from stylish batsmen Darren Bravo and Shamarh Brooks.
The tourists stuttered on the last day with the ball, collecting only one wicket as New Zealand “A” toyed with them in the middle to leave huge question marks over how the Windies will fare on their five-game tour.
There was a glimmer of hope for the Windies when paceman Chemar Holder captured the inaugural wicket of their tour. His short delivery perplexed opener Will Young, who was duly caught legside by Shane Dowrich just three overs after the morning drinks break.
Yet it took just under three more hours before another wicket was claimed. Left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer dismissed Henry Nicholls with a tricky rising delivery shortly after the tea break to give the tourists a sigh of relief.
And finally century maker Rachin Ravindra was back in the pavilion, following his dogged 4.5-hour stint, caught at deep leg off Alzarri Joseph to give the Windies some belief.
Yet the tourists toiled only to be totally frustrated by the partnership of Joe Carter and Devon Conway, who combined brilliantly for an unbeaten fourth wicket stand of 81 before the hosts declared on 308.
The Windies at least appeared to have bounced back with the bat. Left-handed veteran Bravo led the way by notching 135 over 4.5 hours, cracking 13 fours and five sixes from 214 balls.
Although he shared successive century stands with Kraigg Brathwaite and Brooks, the Windies edged only slightly ahead after being whittled out for 366.
Although Shannon Gabriel clean bowled Ravindra for 10 in the sixth over after lunch, the Windies lacked any penetration with the ball and became increasingly disheartened as Conway and Young put on an unbroken second wicket knock of 97 as the match petered out into a draw.
Jason Holder should be extremely concerned following this contest as he has the responsibility of captaining the two Tests, although the Barbados all rounder has half-a-dozen reserve players that includes Jamaica’s leg spinner Nkrumah Bonner. With the Windies languishing at world no.8 in the ICC Test rankings, realistically their chances next month against New Zealand do not look too promising.
Trinidad’s Kieron Pollard is the skipper of the T20I squad for their three games and will be expected to lead his troops into a tense battle. The first competitive match takes place on Friday evening (1am Jamaican time) at Auckland’s Eden Park. The second T20I is scheduled for 48 hours later at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, which also stages the third and final encounter the following day.
With Cricket West Indies recently being heavily criticised by their president Ricky Skerritt, for failing to make much impact over the 20 years despite huge money being thrown around, both Holder and Pollard have their work severely cut out if they are to show any semblance that the Windies are not a sleeping giant but a force to be reckoned with.
Warm-up friendly | Draw
New Zealand “A” 308-3 dec & 124-1
West Indies 366
Windies Test squad
Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach.
Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales.
Windies T20I squad
Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams.
New Zealand v West Indies tour schedule
Eden Park, Auckland
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Seddon Park, Hamilton
Basin Reserve, Wellington
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