Legend Lloyd wants Da Silva groomed as specialist opener


Legend Lloyd wants Da Silva groomed as specialist opener

...Says move to carry only two opening batsmen to New Zealand could backfire

Saturday, October 31, 2020

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Iconic former West Indies Captain Clive Lloyd is concerned by the inclusion of only two specialist openers for the two-Test tour of New Zealand but believes uncapped Joshua Da Silva should be groomed to fill the crucial position.

Owing to the brevity of the series, selectors opted for the opening pair of Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell but Lloyd said the move could backfire, especially if either batsman found themselves badly out of form.

“We have to try and bat long and that's the problem that we have,” said Lloyd who presided over the dominant Caribbean side of the late 1970s and 1980s.

“This is the first time on any tour I know where we only have two openers, so if they're failing who do you turn to? And I think it is a funny situation.

“We have the guy Da Silva — I think he can act as an opener or groom him as an opener. He looked a good compact sort of player.”

Lloyd's comments on StarCom Radio's The Mason and Guests cricket show come against the backdrop of the form of Brathwaite and Campbell, both of whom have struggled in recent times.

Brathwaite, the senior member of the partnership, averaged a paltry 12 from ten Tests prior to the England tour earlier this year during which he finally managed to carve out his first half-century in nearly two years.

Campbell has managed only one half-century in 18 innings since making his debut last year January when England toured the Caribbean and averages just 25.

The 22-year-old Da Silva, who is part of a six-man reserve group for the New Zealand series, was also a reserve for the tour of England where he shone in an inter-squad match at Manchester with an unbeaten hundred and half-century.

He gathered 502 runs at an average of 50 for Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the last regional first class season, scoring his maiden century batting at number five.

Lloyd, who led West Indies to the capture of the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979, said West Indies faced a difficult time against a well-drilled Black Caps side and would need to execute in all departments to come away with a positive result.

“They're a well-disciplined side and it's quite obvious they've done very well. The Captain Kane Williamson is quite an astute guy; they believe in the talent they have and they're playing at home,” Lloyd pointed out.

“So, it's going to be difficult but you can never say [never]. Cricket, as they say in the old adage, is a game of great uncertainties.

“You have to do well in all aspects of your game. We have to be fit enough, we have to take our catches.”

West Indies left the Caribbean on Tuesday for New Zealand, where they will undergo two weeks of quarantine under the COVID-19 protocols before undertaking preparation in earnest for the series.

The opening Test is set for Seddon Park in Hamilton from December 3-7, with the second Test carded for the historic Basic Reserve in Wellington starting four days later.

A three-match Twenty20 International series starting November 27 will precede the Test tour and will be played in Auckland and Mount Maunganui.

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