Upset as local fans would be after Barbados Pride were blown away by an innings and four runs by Leeward Islands Hurricanes inside two days in their second-round Digicel Regional first-class match at Kensington Oval yesterday, some caution should be shown in rushing to judgement.
It is easy to bash a team when a heavy defeat is suffered. Yes, it was painful to watch the Barbados batting display on a pitch, which held no terrors. Was it a combination of inexperience and lack of fighting spirit?
Asked to take first knock after losing the toss, Barbados were bowled out for 113 in 36.2 overs after tottering on 34 for seven by the 19th over. The experienced off-spinning all-rounder Ashley Nurse batted in typically attacking style to top-score with 45 off 42 balls including seven fours and one six at No. 9.
They were undermined by a three-pronged pace attack with Jeremiah Louis grabbing six for 69 off 14.2 overs and veteran Gavin Tonge, three for five off eight overs.
The Leewards responded with 233 all in 84.1 overs. Inspiration again came from the 21-year-old Louis, who hit an unbeaten 62 in 110 minutes off 107 balls including six fours and one six at No. 8.
Louis added 50 in 13.1 overs for the last wicket with Jason Campbell (18). That partnership clearly deflated Barbados.
Off-spinner Kenroy Williams took five for 50 off 20 overs.
Barbados then fell for 116 in 32.3 overs in the second innings after slipping to 18 for five by the 13th over, as Nurse again stood out with the bat. This time he went to the crease at No.7 and scored 67 in 106 minutes off 71 balls, containing eight fours and three sixes.
Nurse and Shayne Moseley, who batted at No. 6 instead of his opening position because of an injured left arm sustained while fielding at forward short-leg, put on 61 in 13 overs before Moseley was run out in a mix-up over a single, for 15.
Tonge grabbed six for 21 off 12 overs while Louis picked up three for 43 off 10.3 overs for a match haul of nine for 112 and was duly named Man-of-the-Match.
It was the first time since 2009 that Barbados had lost to the Leeward Islands in the first-class Championship. Playing at the North Stars Club ground, Crab Hill in St. Lucy, Barbados went under by an innings and five runs inside three days.
The Leewards made 439 of which Runako Morton (now deceased) scored 210. Barbados were bowled out for 241 (Dwayne Smith 62, Kirk Edwards 54) and 193 (Kevin Stoute 100; Gavin Tonge 5-62, Tonito Willett 4-51).
Current captain Devon Thomas and Tonge are the Leewards survivors from that match, while from the Barbados side are skipper Kevin Stoute and Jonathan Carter.
Now, of the six competing teams, none have been hit as hard as Barbados Pride with top players absent because of West Indies duties or commitments to the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
Barbados Pride were without as many as nine. Seven were in Zimbabwe for the just concluded two-match Test series, which Jason Holder’s side won 1-0. They were: Holder, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Kemar Roach and Miguel Cummins. Shamarh Brooks was representing West Indies ‘A’ in the unofficial three-match ‘Test” series against Sri Lanka ‘A’ and is also turning out in the on-going “One-Day International” series against the same team in the Caribbean, while Carlos Brathwaite is playing in the BPL.
Brooks will take over the captaincy from Stoute from the next match against Jamaica Scorpions in Kingston.
But, it can also be argued that the Leewards were without five of their regular players in Kieran Powell and Alzarri Joseph, who are with the West Indies Test team, and Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge and Rahkeem Cornwall, who are representing West Indies ‘A’.
Barbados maintained the same side from the drawn first round pink ball day/night match against Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at Kensington Oval, having picked three players who made their first-class debuts in Moseley, batsman Aaron Jones and fast bowler Shakeem Clarke.
In the circumstances, it was vital for the likes of Anthony Alleyne, Carter, Stoute and Williams to step up with the bat. Alleyne made 1 and 1; Carter failed to score in both innings; Stoute scored 2 and 4 and Williams 8 and 0.
Credit must be given to the Leeward Islands seamers for maintaining good lines and lengths and also the ability to swing the ball.
But the technique of the Barbados batsmen came under the microscope as several lost their wickets to catches behind the stumps or in the slips, especially in the second innings.
The coaching staff must get the squad as well as others in line for selection, in the nets over the next couple days and work on their technical deficiencies.
With their next five matches all away, it will be a challenge for Barbados Pride to bounce back and show that they have the mettle to fight.
Talking about fight, congratulations are in order for Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich for their memorable centuries against Zimbabwe in the drawn second Test at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
Dowrich hit 103 – his maiden Test century to emerge from a sequence of low scores, which had resulted in just 100 runs (ave: 9.09) in his previous 12 innings – while Holder scored 110, his second Test ton.
The pair featured in a record eighth-wicket partnership of 212, which was the highest for that wicket for West Indies. It was also only the second time – the first being in 1908 – in 109 years that a No. 8 and a No. 9 scored centuries in the same Test innings.
There were a few telling comments from West Indies head coach Stuart Law at the end of the series, as he praised several players including Holder, Dowrich and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, who was named Man-of-the Series for his 13 wickets after taking only three on the previous tour to England.
“I’m super proud of Jason and the way he’s led this team, as well as the way the boys have played,” Law said. “For Devendra Bishoo to come here after a tough series in England and get Man-of-the-Series is a great effort, and I thought Shane Dowrich has been outstanding. His glovework behind the stumps and that hundred was great. I’m very proud of our boys.”
With the next series in New Zealand starting soon, Law clearly suggested that he would like to keep the squad together, bearing in mind that the same 15 also toured England.
“I’ve been pretty clear to the selectors that this group that we have together is worth working with,” Law said. “It’s a short turnaround between now and the New Zealand series, to bring someone else – or a number of players – in, I don’t think would be a great move. We would have to start again with those players. We’re starting to make strides and go forward. We competed well in England and won a Test match there, we’ve now won a series in Zimbabwe. I think it would be great if we could keep the guys together. Those guys who have struggled might be our heroes in the next match. I understand some people think we could chop and change, but I believe that if we stay together and become one, we’ll start producing the results.”
So Barbadian fans can say they had a mixture of the bitter and sweet over the past few days.
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and International cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) Championship for over three-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org). Holder is also the host of the cricket Talk Show, Mid Wicket, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 100.7 FM on Tuesday nights. Email:Keithfholder@gmail.com