5 things West Indies need to do to cause an upset against Australia
Battles between West Indies and Australia in the late 20th century, when both teams were jostling to be called the best side in Test cricket, used to be looked forward to with huge anticipation. Both teams had some attacking batsmen and a battery of express bowlers at their disposal and used to never hold back an inch when taking on each other.
However, with the West Indies having faded as a force in recent years, there haven’t been any memorable contests between the two proud cricketing nations of late.
Hopefully, the West Indies showing some resurgence in their recent series against England can pave the way for a gripping contest when the two sides square off in the first Test starting on June 3. There is no doubt, however, that Australia will go into the series as overwhelming favourites.
Here are 5 things West Indies need to do to cause an upset:
1. Youngsters need to step up to the occasion
West Indies have invited quite a lot of criticism for dropping the experienced Shivnarine Chanderpaul for the series. While it is undoubtedly going to take some time for them to replace a player of Chanderpaul’s class, they can be encouraged by the fact that some of their younger players are showing promise. Players like Kraigg Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood and Jason Holder were in good form during the recent series against England at home, where they managed a 1-1 draw.
Brathwaite scored a well-crafted century in the second Test and rightly earned a lot of plaudits, even though his innings came in a losing cause. Blackwood, meanwhile, was one of the best performers in the series as he aggregated 311 runs in the 3 Test matches. His knocks of 85 and 47 in the third Test led them to a historic victory on what was by no means an easy surface for the batsmen. If the young players can step up to the plate, they might prove to be a match for the Australians.
2. Take advantage of Australia’s fallibility against spin bowling
The pitches in the West Indies have been more conducive to spin bowling than pace bowling in the past 5 to 6 years. If there is one weakness that the Australians have at the moment, it is their inability to play well against the spinners.
Apart from Michael Clarke and Steven Smith, most of their other players are susceptible against spin. Despite being once again on the rise as a unit in the last couple of years, they have been found woefully short of the required standards when they have played on spin-friendly surfaces. In 2013, they were humiliated to a 4-0 whitewash at the hands of India and then followed it up with a 2-0 defeat to Pakistan, who were without Saeed Ajmal, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last year.
While it is uncertain as to who will be West Indies’ frontline spinner for the series, whoever they pick should enjoy a fair amount of success on helpful surfaces against an uncertain batting line-up.