Perry thinks extra spinner would have served Windies betterFriday, April 09, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
Former West Indies cricketer Nehemiah Perry says he agreed with the regional side's strategy to use five specialist bowlers against visitors Sri Lanka, but would have preferred an extra spinner instead of the fourth seamer.
The two-Test series — contested at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua — ended in a nil-all stalemate.
Though stacked with five specialist bowlers, including four pacers and off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, the West Indies bowling lacked penetration in the second innings of both Tests, albeit on pitches which appeared more benign as the match went on.
Perry, the former wily off-break bowler who played four Tests for West Indies in the late 1990s, said he would have included left-armed finger spinner Jomel Warrican at the expense of one of the pace bowlers.
“I think you definitely needed five bowlers, but on a pitch like that I would have gone in with two spinners and three seamers,” he told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview.
“I would have gone with spinners Rahkeem Cornwall and Warrican, because looking at the pitch you knew it wasn't conducive to fast bowling. You need 20 wickets, so I would have gone with left-arm spin for a little more variety and then rotate the fast bowlers from one end, or you could bowl the spinners in tandem,” the Jamaican explained.
Entering the Test series, Sri Lanka were ranked seventh in the world, one place ahead of the Kraigg Brathwaite-captained West Indies.
The pace quartet of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph has been successful on home soil in the recent past, and was integral in West Indies 2-1 beating of England in the Caribbean two years ago. Cornwall has emerged as the region's top slow bowler in the game's longest format.
Against Sri Lanka, Roach and Holder, who took nine and seven wickets, respectively, did fairly well, but the other front-line bowlers were largely off colour.
After dismissing Sri Lanka for 169 in the first innings of the opening Test, the home team — hampered by sloppy catching— lost its grip in the second half of the match as the visitors piled up 476. West Indies made 271 in the first innings and closed on 236-4 in the second in search of 375 runs for victory.
In the second Test, West Indies made 354 and 280-4, while Sri Lanka made 258 in the first innings and comfortably blunted the hosts' attack to end on 193-2 when set a victory target of 377. West Indies were again guilty of flooring chances.
“The Test pitch was a little bit flat and not the kind of results pitch that you'd expect. It wasn't conducive to fast bowling and was very good for batting. But I thought in the first Test we could have actually pushed a little harder for the win. We really didn't show any impetus that we were going to go for the win. I thought we could have shown more urgency in how we went about the run chase.
“In the second and last Test the pitch was again good for batting. At one stage the game was just a crawl, a stalemate with no sense of urgency with how we batted. That's not our brand of cricket, [it lacked] attractiveness and purpose.
“I thought the bowling could've been more penetrative, a little bit more consistent. The line and length were a little up and down… and I don't think we hit those areas consistently enough to create pressure and create chances,” Perry said.
“But, you know, a draw is better than losing the Test series, [but] I think we were a little bit too conservative, especially in our batting. The bowling has to be aggressive because talking [about game plans] and executing are two different stories. The body language wasn't that they wanted to win,” he added.
Preceding the Test series, West Indies swept the visitors 3-0 in the One-Day Internationals after winning the Twenty20 (T20) leg of the tour 2-1.
Perry suggested that the home side was more purposeful in the shorter format.
“I think the team played very well in the T20 and 50-overs. Everybody seems to be very much in tune with the game, everybody seems focused, and everybody seems to see there is a vision and is working towards that vision. They executed their plans very well and they got the desired results, and I think they deserved to win both series,” he told the Observer.
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