Thursday, 12 May 2011

Pakistan Vs West Indies. Test Series Preview

Preview-West Indies versus Pakistan Test Series
After the World Cup and the circus IPL, finally the purist get to immerse in a Test series.This 2 Test series between the West Indies and Pakistan hasn't the high profile as some of the more recent series.Though is intriguing by closeness between the two sides due to the incompleteness in their respective Teams.So with this in mind it should be a very tight series.

Here is my look at it starting with the host the West Indies

West Indies
Sadly for not only the Caribbean fans,but cricket fans in general the Windies have been beset by their Team being ravaged by players missing the Tests for the Indian Premier League.Then further undermined by the continued incompetence of their Board and not helped by the responses from their players.Leaving the Team in a mess.Arguably they start the Test series with their two best players in Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo counting their riches in the IPL.

My Team
The Team has many question marks with Chris Gayle leaving a gaping hole at the top of the order.The candidates to partner Lendl Simmons at the top were the veteran Devon Smith,who has previously struggled at this level of the game.Then the precociously talented youngster in Kraig Braithwaithe with Smith being preferred.Veterans in Ramaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels are back as is Shiv Chanderpaul after his conflict with the WICB.
Promisingly in the Team was the selection of the fine young leg spinner Devendra Bishoo,but tempered by Braithwaite being left out
This would be my Team


Key Men

Kemar Roach
This promising young quick showed he is starting to mature into a fine young bowler as seen in the Test series in Sri Lanka last year.Then backed it up with a very fine bowling display in the World Cup.The Pakistani batting without the class and steel of Younis Khan has talent,but lacks temperament.Though countering this is outside of Roach is the lack of class in the West Indian bowling-made worse with Dwayne Bravo not playing.So the Pakistani batsmen despite their inadequacies might be able to be a factor.This won't be the case if Roach bowls as he can and probably is one of the key factors in the series

Lendl Simmons
The Windies without Gayle are very fragile at the top of the order.The form of Simmons in the Odis recently showed that he is indeed an improved player from the one that had been found out in Tests recently.If he can indeed perform well at the top of the order. It will be a huge factor in the Windies not only being competitive,but having a chance to win

Darren Bravo
Every time you see this guy bat you drool at his potential greatness.Which has lead to him being unfairly labelled the 'Next Lara'.There is no doubt that he has the potential to be the next very fine West Indian batsman,but let him be the first Darren Bravo before comparing him to an icon! Though if in this series he can start to turn some of that potential into performance.The effect on the series will be huge

XFactors-Devendra Bishoo and Shiv Chanderpaul
The Windies lack class in their bowling,but in Devendra Bishoo they have a young leg spinner that to date has shown immense promise.In this series against the Pakistani's who aren't renowned for their temperament in the longer form of the game.He could be like a hot knife through butter with his refined bowling
Shiv Chanderpaul -throughout his excellent career Chanderpaul has been renowned for his shyness and unwillingness to talk as much as anything.Though in the wake of his recent treatment by the Selectors he has been akin to a Town crier.
So with the talk over's time to walk the walk Shiv.....
Whether he can will be crucial in the series

The Pakistani Team has been ravaged by the loss of their bowling Kingpins in Mohammud Asif and Mohammud Aamer and then further weakened by the loss of their batting supremo in Younis Khan.As always with Pakistan the Team is loaded with talent,but the key question being whether they have the temperament for Test match cricket.Plus outside questions over their batting is the queries over the effectiveness of their bowling without Asif and Aamer.Then always their fielding or incompetence in it will be huge in how they go

My Team
The loss of Younis Khan is huge in this series for it means that the Pakistani Team will be without it's best player and a man who can help guide the youngster at the crease.The bowling is workmanlike without having a key strike bowler and will try to make spin be a key factor in the series.
Keeping this in mind this will be my Team

Taufeeq,Hafeez,Azhar,Misbah,Shafique,Umar Akmal,Salman.Gul,Wahab,Ajmal,Tanvir

Key Men
Azhar Ali
This young number three batsmen has all the makings of being the next very fine Pakistani batsman.For he is very unlike the rest of the young Pakistani batsmen being a player built around temperament and technique,rather than flashy stroke play.In this series against a rather weak West Indies bowling line up the table is set for him to dominate

Wahab Riaz
This young left hand quick in his brief career has shown when he gets it right is one very dangerous bowler.In the World Cup in his dismembering of the legendary Indian batting in a high pressure match.You swore his was the sequel to Wasim Akram with his pace and lethal swing both traditional and reverse.
If he can replicate that the Windies batsman will be supremely outclassed

The Pakistani Spinners
In the Odi series the Pakistani initial dominance was built on the back of their spinners and the West Indian batsmen struggles against them.Here in the longer form of the game with the hosts batting looking very fragile.How the Pakistani spinners go against them will be key to the outcome of the series

XFactors-Pakistan's Temperament and Fielding
There is no doubt that in the shorter form of the game where flash is a key component Pakistan are very fine competitors.Though here in Test cricket where everything is about substance in regards to the success of Teams.No one will doubt the talent in the Pakistani side,but that only gets you so far with temperament in all regards getting you the rest of the way.To not only be competitive,but also to be victorious.
This will be the key for Pakistan in this series
Fielding-Throughout their history bar on a few brief occasions,Pakistan's fielding has been tantamount to a joke.Here in a series that promises to be tight it could be the deciding factor........

This 2 Test series has draw written all over it due to the closeness of the Teams due to their inadequacies.Though the key difference between the two is Pakistan's inadequacies is born through players being talented,but yet to be factors in Test cricket.Whereas the West Indies have many in their line up who have been tried and failed at Test level or who just aren't up to the standard demanded.Unless of course their Team is improved by the return of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo during the series
Keeping this in mind I think Pakistan will win 1 nil (1 all draw if Gayle and Bravo were playing)

Man of Series-Azhar Ali
I think this young Pakistani batsman will dominate in this series against a weak (bar Roach) West Indian bowling line up

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