BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe – If West Indies head coach Stuart Law had his way, the 15-man squad which toured Zimbabwe would remain unchanged for the two-Test Test series in New Zealand starting later this month.
The Australian told reporters that the current group, retained from the England tour last August, were developing nicely as a unit and to make any changes would be disruptive going forward.
“I’ve made it pretty open and pretty clear to the chairman of selectors (Courtney Browne) and the selection panel that I think that this group we have together is worth working with,” Law said following the drawn second Test against Zimbabwe at Queens Sports Club yesterday.
“It’s a short turnaround between now and New Zealand as well. To bring someone else in or a number of players in, I don’t think would be a great move in the sense that we would have to start again with those players.”
West Indies beat Zimbabwe in the first Test by 117 runs at the same venue almost two weeks ago but were frustrated on Thursday in their bid for a clean sweep when the hosts batted the entire day to force a stalemate.
The Test win was their fourth in successive series, following a run of 11 matches without a single victory. They beat Pakistan in the final Test in Sharjah last November, trounced them again in Bridgetown in the second Test of the return home series in May before stunning England in the second Test at Headingley last August.
Law, who took over the unit at the start of the year, said those results reflected a gelling of the current side and performances would only get better if the unit were kept together.
“The players we’ve got here, we’re starting to make strides, we’re starting to go forward. We competed very well in England [and] we’ve now come to Zimbabwe away from home and won a series.” Law argued.
“I would think it would be great if we could keep the same group of guys together. Those guys who have struggled, in the next Test match they might be our heroes – they’ve got that type of ability.”
Top order batsman Kyle Hope is perhaps one of the players whose place will come under scrutiny. The right-hander managed 41 runs in six Test innings on the England tour, including scores of 3, 0, 0 and 1 in his last four outings.
The Zimbabwe series saw no change of fortunes for the 28-year-old as he scraped together 60 runs from three innings.
Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich’s place had also come under the microscope following a poor England tour where he scored 24 runs from six Test innings and struggled with his glove-work.
He managed 11 and 12 in the first Test against Zimbabwe but then produced a maiden hundred in the second match, to ease the pressure.
With New Zealand expected to be challenging series, Law reiterated the importance of resisting the “need to chop and change” at such an important time.
“It’s a fine line. I understand that some people out there are saying we need to chop and change and do this,” he stressed.
“But if we keep the same group together, we learn together and we start becoming one, we’ll start putting more results on the board.”
West Indies are expected to travel to a preparation camp in Australia before heading to New Zealand for the series which bowls off with a three-day tour match on November 25.