Embattled West Indies are facing several injury worries as they prepare to face Australia in the decisive second and final Test at Adelaide Oval starting here tomorrow.
Veteran seamer Kemar Roach, the most experienced of the West Indies attack, is struggling with a hamstring niggle while Jayden Seales, the most junior of the bowling attack at 21, is suffering from a painful knee.
All-rounder Kyle Mayers has been ruled out of the attack with a bad shoulder but can still play as a batsman while Nkrumah Bonner, who suffered a concussion in the opening Test and had to be replaced by Shamarh Brooks, is still in doubt for the pink-ball, day-night affair which bowls off at 2:30 pm (Wednesday midnight, Eastern Caribbean time).
“We haven’t settled on an XI yet. We still have a few little concerns,” head coach Phil Simmons confirmed.
“We have concerns – Roach, Seales, we don’t know where Bonner is yet. We just have to give them a little more time.”
He added: “Kyle is definitely not going to be able to bowl so we just have to work out how we adjust the balance of the team.”
Roach, sixth on the West Indies all-time list with 253 wickets from 74 Tests, has led the side’s attack in recent years and his absence will be a massive blow.
Seales has also been a key figure since making his debut as a teenager last year while Mayers has developed quite a reputation for having ‘a golden arm’, as a fifth seamer in the lineup.
Even with a fully functioning attack, West Indies struggled to limit Australia in the opening Test at Perth, and Simmons said bringing in experienced bowlers for the match – like the uncapped Marquino Mindley who only arrived recently as injury cover – could prove a tough challenge.
“It’s going to be very difficult, especially for him (Mindley),” explained Simmons.
“If it was, let’s say a Roach, who had played 50 Test matches he would know how to adjust but someone who maybe making their debut, then that’s going to be difficult but at the same time, that’s what he has been brought for.
“As a person who has played Test cricket, I know I would be jumping at the opportunity to get my first Test cap and to do well, especially at a ground as lovely as this.”
West Indies will be playing only their fourth day-night Test while searching for their first-ever win, having lost their previous three encounters to Pakistan, England and Sri Lanka.
And while Vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood advocated for the Caribbean side playing more of the novel Tests, he admitted they came with their peculiar challenges.
“I think we can get in a few more day-night games in the few years coming up,” Blackwood said.
“I think we’ve played a bit as well so we’re no stranger to the pink-ball Tests because we’ve played it in our first class game as well back home so we’re no stranger to the pink ball.”
He added: “For sure, in the day time is where you get the easiest part to bat. In the twilight period and when the lights are turned on it gets a bit tricky. The ball starts to do a lot more so as batters we just have to capitalise as much as possible on the sun.” (CMC)