Campbell accepts wretched England tour as part of learning curve

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

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A wretched tour of England has seemingly done little to dent the spirit of West Indies Test opener John Campbell.

The left-handed batsman averaged a mere 16.8 while tallying only 84 runs in six innings as the regional side lost last month's three-Test series 1-2.

“Not because I had a bad series means it will be the end of me,” Campbell, who turns 27 next month, told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview.

“I'll be definitely working; [I will] ensure I work on my weak areas and continue to strengthen my strengths and continue to score big runs,” he added.

The usually free-scoring Jamaican, playing across his front pad against the crafty English pacers in conditions which favoured them, was dismissed leg before wicket on two occasions.

Twice he went edging behind, while in the first innings of the final Test he was caught for 32 when fending a menacing short delivery from Jofra Archer.

Campbell did play a role in the visitors' four-wicket win in the opening match after he was forced to retire hurt in the second innings when his toe was smashed by a torpedo from Archer. Hobbling, the opening batsman bravely returned to help West Indies over the line in their run chase, finishing on eight not out.

After the disappointing tour, Campbell's Test average dipped to 25.46 in nine matches with a lone half-century.

He had entered the series in decent enough form. In the last domestic first-class tournament the Jamaica Scorpions skipper notched two centuries while aggregating 491 runs at 32.73.

He insisted the challenge in England was a part of his learning curve.

“I can't say it [the batting failure] has dampened me, because it was just experience. It was my first time in those conditions against that type of bowling attack. It was learning experience more than anything else for me.

“I think it was good bowling [from England], but it was a good experience and good learning for me. I'm not making any excuses because at that level you're going to get good deliveries and you have to find a way to survive them. So I'll have to find a way to survive good deliveries and to come with big scores because at that level you'll get more good deliveries than ordinary or bad deliveries,” Campbell explained.

His struggles on the tour were not unique.

Throughout the series the Caribbean side reached 300 only once — in the opening innings of the first Test.

And while the visiting team's players combined for eight individual half-centuries — Jermaine Blackwood, Shamarh Brooks and Kraigg Brathwaite scored two each — no one went on to get a century. Campbell's compatriot Blackwood (35.16) and Barbadian Brooks (32.5) were the only West Indies players to average over 30 in the series.

“We didn't bat as well as we did in the first game. We got over 300 runs in the first innings of the first game and that was our highest score for the series, so that was definitely an area in which we fell down,” Campbell told the Observer.

“We had no batsman scoring a hundred; we got some decent partnerships, but they weren't big enough. The conditions were difficult, but we had a few batsmen getting starts and not going big. In those conditions whenever you get a start you got to definitely make it count,” he said.

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