West Indies ‘A’ Head Coach Graeme West was left with mixed views on his team’s performances over the just-concluded Sri Lanka ‘A’ tour.
After losing the three-match ‘Test’ series 2-1, the regional side came up trumps on Sunday to level the three-match one-day series 1-1 with a 45-run win in the final contest at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium.
West Indies ‘A’ won the toss and decided to take first strike on a bowler-friendly strip and were knocked over for a paltry 152 inside 45 overs, but the bowling attack made up for the dismal batting display by restricting Sri Lanka ‘A’ to 107 inside 40 overs.
Sri Lanka ‘A’ had earlier won the first contest by two wickets at Sabina Park, while the second match was abandoned due to inclement weather.
“In footballing terms, it was a game of two halves, but it is disappointing because we have obviously talked a lot about batting, particularly after the first game. The guys didn’t show any learning, no application, and it is something that we really have to look at long term,” West told the Jamaica Observer in a post-game interview.
Only four West Indies ‘A’ batsmen got into double figures in an innings that was top-scored by Shamarh Brooks’ 35. Rahkeem Cornwall (18), Sunil Ambris (20) and Andre McCarthy (27) were the other batsmen to offer minimal resistance.
Brooks and Ambris seemed set to push the team on to a big total, but indecisive running ruined that endeavour as the team crumbled shortly after the end of that 41-run third-wicket stand.
“We tried Rahkeem at the top of the order to see if we could get a little bit more momentum in the first 10 overs and he started very well, but after his dismissal and after the third wicket, we just sort of lost momentum and just kept on losing wickets. We didn’t build partnerships and we need to work on that in the future tours,” West added.
But with that said, West lauded his bowling unit for another bright performance, as the three-pronged seam attack led by Jamaican left-armer Sheldon Cottrell and Ronsford Beaton, backed by medium pacer Kyle Mayers and spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, made amends.
Cottrell, who snared 4-44 in the first match, again came up big with 4-19 from 8.3 overs, including two maidens, while Mayers and Cornwall ended with figures of 3-24 and 2-23, respectively.
“The bowlers were outstanding — from Cottrell and Beaton up front and Odean Smith chipped in with a very important wicket, and Cornwall and Mayers also got wickets at crucial times which helped to retain the pressure. We also held on to some good catches, which we haven’t been doing; so it is a pleasing end but still a lot of work to be done,” the Englishman assessed.
Despite being pleased that he is unearthing and developing a very good one-day bowling unit, West stressed that batsmen will need to make significant strides if they intend to make the transition.
“But batting-wise, I think over the last four/five weeks, really poor. Only Sunil Ambris can say he has performed at a level where the selectors should be having a good look at him, and I just found out that he has been added to the group going to new Zealand which is great for him.
“But I think any of the other batters would struggle to convince the selectors that they are ready to move up to the next level,” he noted.
“They go back to first class cricket now and Super50 after the holidays, and they do need to perform a level above what they have been doing. It has been very encouraging to see (Yannic) Cariah and (Vishaul) Singh go back to their franchises and make runs in round two, and the rest need to do likewise,” West ended.