Former West Indies batting coach Toby Radford has questioned the preparation and technical approach by the side’s batsmen during the just concluded Test series, and also believes the Caribbean unit placed undue pressure on their seam attack by not rotating their squad.
Speaking in the wake of the Windies’ 2-1 defeat to England in the three-Test series, Radford said the touring side’s batsmen had shown several technical deficiencies against the moving ball and appeared especially unprepared for what should have been a predictable line of attack from Stuart Broad.
“We were fine until Stuart Broad played. When Stuart Broad plays, he bowls mid to wide crease, angles the ball in and then nips it back in sharply. You’ve got to get out, you’ve got to kill the movement, you’ve got to kill the lengths so you’ve got to get forward,” said Radford who oversaw the batting group when West Indies retained the Wisden Trophy with a convincing series win in the Caribbean last year.
“What we did in 2017 (tour of England) and last year in the Caribbean is we batted outside of the crease to negate his length – you take his length away.
“What the guys were doing is staying in the crease and a lot of them, for whatever reason, were mis-judging the length believing the ball was short when it was still a good length and then it was nipping quickly back off the length.”
He continued: “You’ve got to get outside the crease, alter your guard to cater for the amount of movement. I didn’t see them doing that.
“The other thing we used to do is between matches, we would set up the bowling machine to replicate what you get from Stuart Broad. When you [review] all the wickets [that fell], all these lbws, the minute the ball is coming out the hand, the batter has gone early to where the ball is starting and then they are already falling across the line.”
With Broad rested, West Indies won the first Test at Southampton by four wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series but with hopes raised of their first series win on English soil in 32 years, things quickly fell apart.
In the second Test at Old Trafford, they capitulated in both innings to crash to a 113-run defeat with Broad returning for his first Test to grab six wickets in the contest.
The 32-year-old then produced a 10-wicket match haul in the third Test days later at the same venue as West Indies’ batsmen perished meekly for 197 and 129, to plunge to a heavy 269-run loss.
Radford, who was ousted from the coaching setup in a management shake-up ahead of last year’s World Cup in England, also told Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guests that while he was unaware of the goings-on inside the Windies camp, targeted planning to combat Broad should have taken place between the second and final Tests.
“There are drills you can do, very simple drills that we used to do on the machine to replicate what you get in the middle,” the Englishman explained.
“Now what I would have hoped after Stuart Broad knocked them over in the second Test match, I would like to think they all got together with the backroom staff and said ‘right, we know what they’re coming with, we know what they’re going to do. They’re going to bowl dead straight and angle the ball in’ and work on that.
“I don’t know what’s going on in there, whether they worked on those areas because then you nullify their best bowler. And one bloke has basically bowled out the team. Jofra Archer didn’t bowl us out, no one else bowled out West Indies team – it was only Stuart Broad.
“All you had to do was come up with a method and practise the method to cope with that.”
Radford, a former head of the region’s High Performance Centre, said with the matches played back-to-back, West Indies were also guilty of failing to freshen up their attack by making use of the reserve bowlers available.
After the first Test, the Caribbean side’s bowlers appeared jaded and only managed to dismiss England once in the next four innings.
“England rotated eight seam bowlers. They were always resting a couple of seamers so every time their bowlers played they were fresh,” Radford pointed out.
“As the tour went on, for whatever reason, we didn’t use our backup bowlers. We carried on using the [same] bowlers all the way through.” (CMC)