Harper calling for West Indies to score 600-run totals in Test matches
By Brandon Corlette
In recent Test matches, the bowling has pulled its weight for the West Indies; the batting, on the other hand, has been inconsistent. During the last Test tour to England, Jermaine Blackwood was the leading run-scorer with 211 runs at an average of 35.16.
The West Indies are slated to tour New Zealand, where the Test side will play two matches. Lead selector of the West Indies, Roger Harper, during his appearance on the Mason and Guest radio programme, is once more calling for an improved batting effort, with the team being able to score 600 runs in a Test match.
“I think we have a competitive squad, but guys will have to perform. If we bat well, we have a good chance. That has been our challenge, especially in Test cricket. If we can put in excess of 600 runs in a Test match, we give ourselves a chance of winning,” Harper explained.
Examining the current Test squad to tour New Zealand, the West Indies have the batting talent, but mental strength and application will be required from the Caribbean batsmen.
Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell are specialist openers in the squad, while Shayne Mosely and Joshua Da Silva are the other opening options in the Test reserves.
Brathwaite scored 65 and 75 on the recent England tour, but the senior top-order batsman has failed to score heavily and dominate bowlers.
Kraigg has 62 Test matches under his belt, with 3672 runs scored at an average of 33.08 with eight hundred and 19 fifties.
Campbell has thus far struggled in his Test career, with nine matches to his name, scoring 382 runs at an average of 25.46 with one half-century to his name.
Darren Bravo has returned to the squad, and his class will boost the batting order. The prolific left-hander has 3506 runs in 54 Tests, with eight hundreds and 17 fifties at an average of 37.69.
Shamarh Brooks has shown solidity in his six Tests, with three fifties and one hundred. Roston Chase has been a versatile all-rounder, batting at five. He has 35 Test matches under his belt and 1852 runs, with five hundreds and eight fifties at an average of 30.86.
Jermaine Blackwood ide star of the Regional 4-Day which concluded in March. In 31 Tests, Blackwood has 12 fifties and one century, but in recent showing in England, he showed glimpses of maturity, but the aggressive intent is still present.
Shimron Hetmyer has returned to the Test squad. He had ordinary performances in the longest format, with five fifties in 16 Tests as he continues to search for that century.
Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder have produced runs for the West Indies when the top order failed. That was not the case in England, hence the batting failures. Holder has established himself as an all-rounder. His batting stats in 43 Tests reads: 2012 runs at an average of 31.93 with three hundreds and eight fifties.
Dowrich, who has surrendered to the short ball, has played 34 Tests and has 1570 runs at an average of 29.07. The wicket-keeper batsman has three hundreds and nine fifties.
The batting group has shown the ability to score, but, for them to answer the Lead Selector’s call and score 600 runs across one Test, batting for long periods and scoring runs will be essential.