Former Barbados and West Indies fast bowling allrounder Ian Bradshaw believes that this crop of regional cricketers has what it takes to develop into a champion side.
Bradshaw along with former Barbados and West Indies speedster Richard ‘Prof’ Edwards shared their views recently on the Mason and Guest radio program about the selection of players. It is expected that from June to August, West Indies will host South Africa, Pakistan and Australia in back-to-back home series.
“I just welcome the development of this team. This team is a champion team and it has to start winning games. I am pleased that the West Indies Cricket Board has been able to organise so much cricket in these trying times. It is a big step for them,” Bradshaw said.
The Kieron Pollard-led T20 squad is building towards the International Cricket Council T20 World Cup later this year in India. It is set to take place in October and November.
“The selectors took a decision to select a group of players to build towards the World Cup. They played a handful of games in Antigua against the visiting team and I am a little surprised by the names I am seeing.
“But it is a process. I am glad to see someone like Andre Russell is back in the squad. Remember before the prior series he was down with COVID I believe and he was unable to take part. So, I am glad that he is back in,” Bradshaw stated.
Most famous for leading the West Indies to the 2004 ICC Champion Trophy with a man-of-the-final performance, Bradshaw also commended Cricket West Indies for taking this step of hosting three major series.
“We have seen what has happened in Pakistan, we have seen what has happened in the CPL and I think before that South Africa as well. Maintaining these bubbles is not straightforward. I compliment them for stepping up to the challenge and we did exceptionally well in CPL and I hope that it rolls out well for us.
“It is critical that we make money from home series. With the current model you don’t make much when you travel, so it is important from a financial standpoint that these tours are successful,” he added.
Meanwhile, Edwards shared his opinion on whether West Indies opening great Christopher Gayle and veteran fast bowler Fidel Edwards should be included in the T20 World Cup step up.
“You still want fellas to be very mobile. The trouble as we all know with Chris Gayle… he is not as fast as he used to be. He has slowed down quite a lot but he is such a dangerous player with the bat. If he gets away and hits an 80 off 28 or 30 balls you are in with a chance to win the match.
“Again, he (Fidel) has a lot of experience. He knows how to bowl at the end. He pitches the ball up and gets it to swing back into the right-handers and at the end, he would bowl a full length. And he could pretty well bowl a yorker and I don’t mind him.
“To tell you the truth, a lot of the other pacers around in the ODIs, Test matches and so on struggle a bit. So, if he is still fit and strong and able to bowl, I say good on him,” Edwards said.
Bradshaw shared the same sentiments as Edwards, stating that Fidel has earned his rightful place in the West Indies cricket team.
“He has something to prove first of all. He has been away from West Indies Cricket and he has expressed his desire to play. I think as Prof said, he ticks a critical box, he performs. He performed in the CPL, so he put his name in the hat. If some of the guys that we expected to go on, the Keemo Pauls and some of those that had some issues, if those had performed, there would be no room for Fidel. But I think he is covered along with Oshane Thomas and we have Sheldon Cottrell as well and it is healthy competition in the pace arena. There is no guarantee that he will play. It is important that within the next upcoming series that each guy puts up his hands to show what he can offer, so we have as many options going into the World Cup,” Bradshaw explained.
Fitness and by extension injuries have been an issue for some players within the West Indies setup for some time. Edwards said he believes playing at their maximum constantly was hard for many of the players to maintain.
“I think that they are playing to their maximum all the time. In these T20s there is no holding back. They are going at a hundred percent all the time and a lot of them are not as fit as they could be. Anybody could look at Oshane Thomas and see that he is overweight.
“His action is not bad but he is too slow. If you are looking to win you have to have the best fielders. Although Bravo (Dwayne) has had some issues, I don’t know how bad they are but Bravo can still catch anything within reach and he is very useful at the end bowling these slower balls… So, he is still somebody you might be able to look at,” Edwards stated.