West Indies aim to attack
The West Indies, still smarting from their 3-0 loss in the four-match Test series, take on England in a back-to-back Twenty20 series at The Brit Oval.
For the once mighty Windies, for the team to which any shortened version of the game should be right up their street, for the winners of the inaugural World Cup (50 overs) back in 1975, this is a testing time.
Unlike England who have been playing Twenty20 cricket for the past four years, the West Indies, and thanks to Allen Stanford for that, have had only one tournament under their belt. With the first Twenty20 World Cup scheduled for South Africa in September, unlike England who have played many international Twenty20 matches, the West Indies have had the benefit of only one - a losing effort in a tie-breaking bowl off against New Zealand in Auckland in February last year.
Because of that, because of their greater experience, England are rousing favourites to win the short contest.
As Matt Prior, England's wicket-keeper has said, however, the West Indies are dangerous, or can be dangerous because, unlike a Test match which is scheduled for five days and hundreds of overs, it is not a test of things like character, patience, stamina and stroke selection.
Apart from that, it not really being a test of technique, there is, for example, hardly any time, any necessity to plan an innings and especially so a long one.
In a Twenty20 contest, almost from the first over, it is time to beat ball. West Indies batsmen, traditionally, are considered made in heaven for such action and especially so batsmen like Chris Gayle, Devon Smith, Marlon Samuels, Runako Morton, Dwayne Bravo and, if he connects, Dwayne Smith.
With such batsmen in their line-up, the West Indies, as far as batting is concerned, do seem capable of matching strides and probably even outperforming England.
The problem for the West Indies appears to be their bowling and their fielding.
Accuracy and consistency are the two most important aspects of bowling in any cricket, but more so in the Twenty20 version of the game. Speed, power and accuracy are the three most important aspects of fielding in any cricket but more so in the Twenty20 version and, based on their showing in recent times, based on their showing in the Test series against England, neither the West Indies bowlers nor fielders are good enough, most of them, to inspire confidence.
Unlike Test matches, however, runs and not wickets win Twenty20 matches and with the likes of Gayle, Devon Smith, Samuels, Morton, Dwayne Bravo and Dwayne Smith around, the West Indies, despite their inexperience, despite their performance in the Test matches, must have a chance to win not one but both matches.
Ironically, however, and remembering their performance in one of their two Twenty20 practice matches on this tour, their strength, as it has been so often in recent times, could be their weakness.
Against Derbyshire a few days ago, the West Indies, with Gayle, Samuels, Morton, Lendl Simmons, Bravo, Dwayne Smith and all-rounder Daren Sammy in their line-up, were dismissed for 84 in 15.4 overs replying to Derbyshire's 135 for six.
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