Darren Gough (PA)

Windies face a stiff task to avoid series whitewash

By SportUK 13/05/2012 11:42

I grew up a huge West Indian cricket fan. I always admired their philosophy on cricket: bowling as fast as you can and hitting the ball as far as you can.


In one of my first 1st class games, Mike Watkinson even described me as “the first white West Indian to play for Yorkshire”, something I obviously took as a huge compliment.


But I’m slightly worried about this current West Indian team coming over to England so early in the summer given the current conditions we are experiencing.


Chris Gayle playing in the IPL (AP Photo-Rajanish Kakade)It's not just the bowler-friendly conditions; their best players, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, are still busy filling their deep pockets in the IPL and, as comical as it sounds, Marlon Samuels got stuck in transit returning from the IPL where he’s being talked about for all the wrong reasons.


As I write this, their two Guyanese players, Narsingh Deonarine and Assad Fudadin are still in Jamaica trying to get their visas. Can it get any worse?


The Windies, currently ranked the seventh best team in the world, are coming up against a confident and strong all-round England side still ranked No 1 that will believe they can thrash the tourists 3-0.


When you look at the West Indian bowlers, you think about the serious pace of Kemar Roach and Fidel Edwards leading the attack. They’re very small for quickies - not exactly Walsh and Ambrose – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous.


Look at Malcolm Marshall, the greatest West Indian bowler of them all. He destroyed England many times – but what he had was control as well as express pace.


Roach and Edwards will certainly set the English batsmen’s hearts racing and Strauss, Cook, KP and co will have to watch them carefully but overall, with Ravi Rampaul and Darren Sammy supporting the quicks, the Windies bowling might not be strong enough.


Their spin threat will come from Samuels and Shane Shillingford, both of whom have had problems with their bowling actions. Shillingford is the better of the two, having picked up 14 wickets in the series against Australia at an average of under 30.


For me, it’s the batting front where the Windies will struggle, paying the price for leaving out good technical players like Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dion Nash – who are both playing in our domestic game for Leicestershire and Kent.


They will rely heavily on the middle order of Shiv Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo.Shivnarine Chanderpaul acknowledges applause after reaching 10,000 Test runs (AP Photo-Andres Leighton)


Chanderpaul has just become only the second West Indian batsman to reach 10,000 test runs. He’s a man who has terrific insight into English conditions and, more importantly, he’s a man in form having made 346 runs in the test series against Australia at 86.50. He’ll have to anchor the side as the top order won't be able to handle Jimmy Anderson with the new cherry in his hand.


Bravo is another player who has experienced English conditions thanks to a short spell with Notts last season. He averages just under 50 in Tests and, for the Windies to stand any chance of avoiding a whitewash, he’ll have to do more than just share the technique of his cousin Brian Lara, he’ll have to play like him too.


If the weather stays fine and the tourists win or even draw a test, they’ll feel they’ve had a successful time of it and can remain positive about the future of West Indies cricket.


My all-time West Indies XI


  1. Gordon Greenidge
  2. Desmond Haynes
  3. Viv Richards
  4. Carl Hooper
  5. Alvin Kallicharran
  6. Gary Sobers
  7. Jeff Dujon
  8. Malcolm Marshall
  9. Curtly Ambrose
  10. Andy Roberts
  11. Michael Holding

Who’d be in your greatest ever Windies side?


Follow Darren Gough on Twitter


To keep up with the county scene I'll be hosting a new monthly show called Goughie's LV county catch-up at ecb.co.uk/LVCC. You can watch live editions of the show throughout the summer at www.facebook.com/englandcricket

20/05/2012 10:22
Hi Darren, My all-time W I XI would be:
  1. Gordon Greenidge
  2. Desmond Haynes
  3. Viv Richards
  4. Brian Lara
  5. Alvin Kallicharran
  6. Gary Sobers
  7. Jeff Dujon
  8. Malcolm Marshall
  9. Michael Holding
  10. Curtly Ambrose
  11. Courtney Walsh
With this team, all opposition would need several Houdini's in their team to escape Greenidge and Haynes. If they happen to escape from these two, they most certainly will be singing Lord I am coming home, when they catch a glimpse of the next two.

After this the next three would definitely have the privilege of reading the final rites, dust to dust ashes to ashes. And of course, with the final four, being a fast bowler myself, this is one calypso party I wouldn't miss for anything as they lay the head stone.

Burt  in Kent 

19/05/2012 18:58
Please could anyone tell me what Chanderpaul has that black on his cheek bones for, looks like war paint, is he playing "Cowboys & Indians" , can`t see the point of it myself.
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  • Darren GoughDarren Gough

    Former England strike bowler and Yorkshire captain Goughie talks all things cricket and occasionally shows off his knowledge of other sports...

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