Compulsory for Roach, Gabriel to transfer Test form into ODI format – Russell, Thomas injury-prone

By Brandon Corlette

Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel have, in recent times, been consistent performers at the Test level, and currently sit in the top 15 of the Test bowling rankings; where Roach is ranked number 11 and Gabriel number 14. These premier fast bowlers have earned selection to the World Cup squad through their Test performances, but will they be effective in the One Day International (ODI) format?
Chairman of Selectors, Robert Haynes, in announcing the World Cup squad, said the selectors are confident that any bowling combination provided by the West Indies in a given game is capable of providing a serious challenge to the opposition in any conditions.
The 30-year-old Roach will be making his third appearance at the Cricket World Cup, while the 30-year-old Gabriel will be making his debut at the global showpiece. Roach has played in 80 ODIs, has taken 114 wickets, and has a solid bowling average of 29.05, with a best bowling figure of 6-27 against the Netherlands; but this occurred in the ICC Cricket World Cup in February 2011. His three five-wicket hauls in this format come at an economy rate of exactly 5.
Inexperienced in the white-ball format, Shannon Gabriel has only 18 ODI matches to his name. The Trinidad and Tobago quickie has taken 23 wickets at a bowling average of 34, with a best bowling figure of 3-17.
Neither Roach nor Gabriel had stellar performances in the ODI Series against England, unlike the big Jamaican Oshane Thomas. This 22-year-old fast bowling sensation, who still has fitness issues, harvested nine wickets in the four matches he played in the ODI Series against England in the Caribbean, even picking up a 5-21. In the nine matches he played in his blooming ODI career, he has taken 15 wickets. His economy rate of 7.22 stands on the higher side, while he has a bowling average of 27.53.
The fourth front-line fast bowler in the World Cup squad, Sheldon Cottrell, will be making a second appearance at the Cricket World Cup. As the lone left-handed fast bowler in the set-up, Cottrell has played in 10 matches and has 15 wickets under his belt. He has an economy rate of 6.21 and a bowling average of 26.8.
The leading ODI wicket-taker in the squad is Jason Holder, captain of the West Indies Team. He has snared 119 wickets in the 90 matches he has played; and has a bowling average of 33.05, a best bowling figure of 5-27, and an economy rate of 5.54.
Holder remains an important asset to the team, showing in recent times that he is capable of batting.
Carlos Brathwaite and Andre Russell are the other seam bowlers in the World Cup squad, but Head Coach Floyd Reifer has disclosed that Russell will play as a batting all-rounder. Like Oshane Thomas, Russell is injury prone, and the West Indies coaching staff will have to monitor the big Jamaican during the World Cup playoffs. Russell has played for the West Indies in 52 ODI matches, and has taken 65 wickets. He is seen as an experienced campaigner in the team, since he would be making his second appearance at the World Cup.
Last, but not least, is the surprise World Cup pick Carlos Brathwaite. The Bajan all-rounder has taken 31 wickets in his 33 matches, and has a bowling average of 43.61. His best bowling performance of 5-27 came against a depleted Papa New Guinea (PNG) team in the World Cup qualifiers.
At some point in the World Cup, Brathwaite will be called upon to bowl, as he sits in the squad of 15 that includes seven seam bowling options.
Each of these bowlers will have to click for the West Indies to win a possible third ICC 50-Over World Cup. West Indies will meet Pakistan in their opening match on May 31, 2019.