The West Indies cricket team in Sri Lanka is going to face some quality competitive cricket in bowling and batting. It is fair to mention that the host team has a clear advantage and this is not because they are at home. The consistency of most of their players have contributed to their success.
The super spinners are ready to go on show. The Sri Lankan spinners Muttiah Muralithran, Ajantha Mendis and Suraj Randiv may be too much for the West Indies batsmen to score heavily knowing that most of their batsmen are novices in playing quality spin bowling.
For the West Indies to defeat the Sri Lankans, they have to bat well and pick up wickets. The advantage for Sri Lanka is their bowling. In the event they do not bat very well, their bowlers could keep the West Indies below 275 runs easily in a Test match.
Darren Sammy’s Batting Will Be Tested
West Indies Captain Darren Sammy should be well prepared to do some batting in battling the Sri Lankan team. Sammy is better known as a tidy seam bowler in one-day internationals but he will have to do some batting down the order in tests, whether it is number seven or eight.
Other players who will have to contribute significantly in the middle order are wicket keeper Carlton Baugh and Dwayne Bravo. Baugh has his opportunity now for he has failed miserably as a wicket keeper batsman. It will be nice to see Baugh mature into a confident Test batsman playing the vital role in that number six or seven position.
Crucial Number Three Position
Despite Devon Smith’s record in Test matches, he should be allowed to bat at number three in the first test match against Sri Lanka. With Ramneresh Sarwan out there, it is necessary to have a batsman with some experience at the top order in Test cricket with the understanding of what has to be done.
Top Cricket Nations Play Three Openers
It is not to wrong to play three opening batsmen in a team. One of these batsmen simply will have to bat at number three, which most of the times strengthens the team’s batting and creates a better ability in the top order. For the first Test match, neither Darren Bravo nor the experienced Dwayne Bravo should be placed at the number three spot.
Devon Smith topped the batting averages in the just concluded West Indies Cricket Board regional tournament and he should be in the first Test match.
The young Jamaican Andre Russell who is a delightful allrounder should be getting his first Test. Captain Russell is energetic and enthusiastic. He moves the new ball quite sharply and his height plays a pivotal role in confusing batsmen.
My personal squad for the first Test match would be:
Chris Gayle, Adrian Barath, Devon Smith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brendan Nash, Dwayne Bravo, Carlton Baugh, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Sulieman Benn and Kemar Roach.