No pushovers

GARNER WARNS ENGLAND NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE WINDIES

LONDON, United Kingdom – Joel Garner has warned against “writing the West Indies off too early” ahead of their upcoming Test series against England.

A three-match campaign starts with the first day/night Test ever staged in England, at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground this Thursday.

England, fresh from a 3-1 win over South Africa in a four-Test home series, will start as huge favourites.

Not only have the West Indies lost their last six Test series, they have been beaten in 14 of their most recent Tests in England and drawn the other three.

But fast-bowling great Garner, now the West Indies team manager, said today: “It’s going to be some interesting times. I think people are writing the West Indies off too early and it could be at their own peril.”

And with a fast-bowling attack led by Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel, allied to a new work ethic being instilled by Australian coach Stuart Law, Garner believes his side, who have played a day/night Test – a hard-fought defeat by Pakistan in Dubai in October – could yet upset the odds.

Kemar Roach’s return to form and to the team is a major boost.

“Cricket is played in the middle at the end of the day,” Garner added at an event staged by series sponsors Investec in London today. “I think the fellows have got talent.”

“It’s who makes the greatest adjustment in the day/night game. Games between England and the West Indies are competitive. I wouldn’t completely write them off.”

West Indies, however, have arrived in England without several star players including Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy – the legacy of a bitter dispute with West Indies cricket officials and the fact that the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 tournament is going on at home at the same time as the Test series.

While Cricket West Indies recently granted an ‘amnesty’ in a bid to get senior players back on board ahead of the 2019 World Cup in England, it has come too late to alter the squad for the Test series.

“We will welcome them back because they are our better players but at the present moment we are here to play cricket,” said the 64-year-old Garner. “We’ve got to work with what we’ve got. We still have fight.

“We can’t keep looking and saying ‘we’ll wait and see if the other players come back as well’.”

Garner, who stood for election as WICB president two years ago but lost to incumbent Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron, said he felt relations between players and officials were improving.

“There’s a lot more communication going on between the players and the officials,” he said. “It can only get better.”

But the 64-year-old Garner accepted the timing of the CPL was far from ideal.

“That is the biggest challenge because that is where most of the money is being aimed at,” said Garner.

“I think you have to work around it and get the tours organised in such a way there’s no competition from the shorter version of the game.”

The giant Garner, who took 259 wickets in 58 Tests at an average of just 20.97, said he felt standards had slipped since the day when he was a key member of the West Indies side that dominated world cricket in the late 1970s and 1980s.

“If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail…Some of our players have become accustomed to the CPL way of doing things.

“Players are being encouraged to train harder and get fitter. We’ve always had players with ability, players with style and flair, but the lack of preparation at the top could have been part of the problem.”

Garner gave the thumbs up to day-night cricket and said it was an exciting innovation which could help boost attendances at Test matches.

While other sides around the world have already experimented with the new format, the series opener against the West Indies will be England’s first ever day-night Test match.

Garner gave his backing to the pink-ball format as the five-day game fights for relevance in the modern era of Twenty20 cricket.

“If it means that you’re going to get full houses and you’re going to get exciting cricket then yes, I don’t have a problem with it,” Garner said.

“The game is moving towards what the consumer needs. It is exciting, it’s different and I welcome it.”

Garner added: “This is a way of saving time and getting people to come out to the cricket.

“You have people going to work who might be more prepared to lose half a day, rather than giving a whole day, to come and watch the cricket. That might be one of the reasons behind it.

“It’s innovative – when they first introduced day-night cricket in the seventies a lot of people weren’t with it but now they’ve got it on an ongoing basis.” 

Source: (AFP/Sky)

3 Responses to No pushovers

  1. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn August 14, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    You Joel Garner was a fast bowler FOR the westindies team. WELL WHY NOT PLAY 4 fast bowlers. If you are serious about winning the first test match against England.

    Reply
  2. Alex Alleyne August 15, 2017 at 7:33 am

    We must have “day-night” cricket in this time mainly because of the sweltering heat and the busy schedule of this generation. The game of Cricket must not stand still.

    Reply
  3. Milli Watt August 15, 2017 at 10:39 am

    stupse……….the ICC ain’t get rid a dis crowd from round de cricket yet.

    Reply

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