Kraigg Brathwaite
West Indies skipper and opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite.

By Ravendra Madholall
Level Three Certified Cricket Coach Basil Butcher Jr has called on West Indies’ batsmen to be stable against host-country Zimbabwe for the two-match test series which is slated to commence on Saturday.

Butcher, the 58-year-old son of former Guyana and West Indies batsman the late Basil Butcher, described the West Indies batting a bit shaky but they have a great opportunity to make a huge impression against the lowly-rated Zimbabwe.

Basil Butcher Jr
Basil Butcher Jr

“Not underrating Zimbabwe but our batting has been a bit shaky in the past; we should be able to fix it here before we head across to South Africa,” Butcher, the USA-based Guyanese, related.

He stated that skipper and opener Kraigg Brathwaite is a solid batsman and he seems to find a good companion at the top, rookie Tagenarine Chanderpaul.

“Tage looks good and Kraigg as usual reliable is just a matter of the middle-order getting things together,” Butcher revealed.

He also took the opportunity to say that the appointment of batting legend Brian Lara as a Performance Mentor is terrific and that should help the players’ confidence immensely.

“It is a great move to have someone like Brian in the camp; his vast experience should make a difference; he has a great cricketing brain and no doubt he can help change the mental aspect of their game very quickly,” Butcher commented.

Quizzed on the bowling that included the recalled quickie Shannon Gabriel, Butcher mentioned he is a quality fast-bowler and should come to the fore. He outlined that another experienced paceman Kemar Roach should be in the Caribbean playing at the ongoing regional four-day tournament to help with his confidence level.

“I glad to see back Gabriel; he is a player who can change things up effectively; he is an excellent bowler and on these bouncy pitches, he can be the key; Roach has problems when overseas in my opinion; he should have played some regional cricket to get himself back together,” Butcher declared.

Another fast-bowler Alzarri Joseph has been exceptional so far with his speed and accuracy and it impressed Butcher. According to Butcher, Joseph is a superb talent and good to see he will be delivering alongside Gabriel.

Shannon Gabriel
Shannon Gabriel has made a return to the squad.

Butcher Jr. is also a Strength and Conditioning Physio and would have worked with USA cricket. He strongly believes and confident West Indies going to beat Zimbabwe quite easily but their mission against the subsequent tour of South Africa will be more challenging. He said that Zimbabwe will be without some of the senior players due to injuries but West Indies need to fire in all cylinders against them especially with the all-important South Africa assignment.

“Obviously, South Africa will be a stronger opponent and they have a very strong bowling attack so it is important West Indies try to play great cricket and come out victorious against Zimbabwe,” Butcher expressed.

West Indies will be in South Africa for two tests, three one-day internationals and similar number of T20s. The first test is billed for February 28.