By Ravi Madholall in Toronto
Former West Indies batsman Ricardo Powell is vehemently saying that the Caribbean boys will encounter a tough test series against hosts England where the two countries will engage in three five-day matches before they subsequently compete in five one-days and a T20.
The first test is scheduled to bowl off on August 18 at Edgbaston with the second and penultimate fixture set for Headingley from August 25 and the final game at Lord’s commencing September 7.
West Indies are currently ranked 8 while the English side is at number 4 and that is big psychological difference, according to the USA-based Jamaican Powell.
“To be confident West Indies will do well in England is an overstatement now based on what we have seen over the years, playing England in their own backyard will be tough; the series is expected to be hard for the visitors because they are lowly ranked and the English boys do play competitive cricket consistently,” Powell, who was known for his power-hitting during his 109 one-day internationals for West Indies, commented.
The Chairman of West Indies selectors Courtney Browne and his fellow colleagues only announced the test squad but stated publicly the limited-over and T20 sides will be named during the test series.
Powell, who is the head of the USA selection panel, was in Toronto recently with the USA under-19 team as assistant coach. USA was vying for a spot at the forthcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) under-19 50-over World Cup slated to be played in New Zealand.
But their quest was crushed by host-nation Canada who will be in New Zealand early January while Bermuda was other participating but they failed to win a game in their four matches here in Toronto.
Quizzed on the combination of the West Indies team for this series against a much-vaunted England lineup, Powell replied without hesitation mentioning the guys are young and inexperienced and with few seasoned campaigners selected, he doesn’t have strong optimism of them creating an impression on the European soil.
“We have got to play competitive cricket and work on our consistency which is very important; the senior players have to be consistent in their capacity and that might help but again it will be a tough test series against England who have shown great consistency with their game,” said Powell, who also represented Trinidad and Tobago at the highest level.
Barbadian-born Raymond Reifer, who featured for defending champions Guyana Jaguars for the past three years in the annual Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League four-day tournament and his compatriot batsman Kyle Hope are the two uncapped players in the team.
However, good news for the regional fans is that another Barbadian quickie Kemar Roach has returned to test cricket after he had been out with injuries.
In terms of the abbreviated version, Powell has more positive things to reveal about West Indies alluding to the fact that they would have won the T20 World Cup trophies on two separate occasions since it was inaugurated in 2007.
“I think the one-day format is good for them; it is their natural game and once the senior guys would be available, I think they have a better chance to beat England, but let’s wait and see out things go and hopefully they do well,” Powell exclusively related.
For the past five successive years, the West Indian Board and some of the successful players have been at indifference owing to contractual dispute but an amnesty was out and Powell sees a brighter future for West Indies team.
The test squad reads: Jason Holder (Captain), Kraigg Braithwaite (Vice Captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Kyle and Shai Hope (brothers) , Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.