The reality is that West Indies players find it difficult to adapt to different pitches and environments which was evident in the three-match One Day International series loss to Australia at Kensington Oval, says Barbados and England cricketer Roland Butcher.
Aaron Finch and his men captured the series 2-1 against the Keiron Pollard-led West Indies squad who struggled to get past 200 runs on a wicket that challenged the capabilities of the batsmen.
“I find that our players find it difficult to adapt to different surfaces, environments, and different situations. The reason for that is there are a lot of technical deficiencies within our play particularly in the longer format of the game. Whether it is 50 over or Test match cricket.
“There is quite a lot being made of the pitches, that the pitches are not ideal for stroke-making. But it is the same for both teams, both teams have to adapt and play the best they can on those pitches,” Butcher told Barbados TODAY.
During a telephone interview, Butcher questioned why West Indies players were unable to cope on their pitches.
“So, why is it that we are always not able to cope with those pitches? It cannot just be a case of the pitches because other teams find a way to survive and to succeed on them, so why can’t we?
“We have got some technical issues for sure, so you can be critical of the pitch. The pitch was not a pitch for a run feast. It was a pitch that challenged the batsmen and it challenged their techniques. You also came up against two high-quality bowlers in Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood,” he said
Generally, though, Butcher believes that the West Indies tried their best including the batsmen. However, he would like to see the players moving away from the T20 mindset and look to focus on that longer version of the game.
“Every player who goes out to play tries his best. I just really think that the emphasis on cricket in the West Indies coming through the system for several years is geared too much towards T20.
“The thinking is too much T20 and for me, there is a skill in T20 but it is about taking the risk, not necessarily calculated risk. It is about taking big risks, it’s about trying to hit boundaries. The outfields are smaller, they have fielding restrictions and the style of play is a power play. If it comes off, it comes off.
“Invariably when they play on pitches that are not quite ideal for big-hitting they struggle. So, I think we have to change that emphasis within the region from a T20 mentality to one of a cricket mentality where if you are sound technically, you got good tactics, good strategies, then you can translate that into any form of the game you want to,” Butcher explained.
He added: “Some of the best players in T20 are some of the most classical. Like Virat Kohli and people of that nature, they are not power hitters but what they do very well is the basics of batting very well. This means that they can translate that into any form of cricket that they play because they don’t rely on strength and power, a big bat, short boundaries and field restriction. They rely on batsmanship and when needs be they can add the power. What I am seeing now in our cricket, I’m seeing power but not finesse and it is not serving us well.”
As the regional side prepares for the T20 World Cup scheduled to commence this October in UAE and Oman because of the latest Coronavirus wave in India, Butcher, who is also a cricket commentator, said he would like to see the men in maroon be more strategic in their approach.
“They are playing the required number of games to prepare. Are they any closer to the final eleven? I don’t know. I think they are still trying to fine-tune that. I would like to see when they do reach the World Cup that that strategy is just more liberal than all-out attack from one to eleven.
“While that is exciting when it comes off, it invariably wins matches but most of the time it doesn’t win titles. So, I would like to see that by the time of the World Cup they have got a more refined strategy in place for playing the T20. You just can’t go blasting all the time because on your day everything will be fine, it will come off. But when things are not going well you will fail,” Butcher said.