WI coach urges pacemen to forge their own identity

June 10, 2019
West Indies’ Oshane Thomas (left), celebrates with West Indies’ Ashley Nurse after bowling Australia’s captain Aaron Finch, caught West Indies’ Shai Hope during the Cricket World Cup match between Australia and West Indies at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday, June 6.
West Indies’ Oshane Thomas (left), celebrates with West Indies’ Ashley Nurse after bowling Australia’s captain Aaron Finch, caught West Indies’ Shai Hope during the Cricket World Cup match between Australia and West Indies at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday, June 6.

AP:

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick wants to be really clear about Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Malcom Marshall, Andy Roberts or any of the other pace greats of the Caribbean. They're not in this team.

The way Jason Holder's bowling attack has started this Cricket World Cup has had some observers comparing them with the famous Windies pace batteries of the 1970s and '80s.

Not Estwick, a former first-class bowler from Barbados who played in England and South Africa and has been West Indies bowling coach since 2016.

"We can't keep looking back," he said Sunday, on the eve of the World Cup group game against South Africa. "We have to respect the past -- our great bowlers of the past, obviously, they are very important in our history. But what we've got now, this group of bowlers now, they have got to find their own identity. They have got to find their own way."

Having said that, Estwick certainly was happy to buy into the vibe.

"Every West Indian is in this. This is big for the Caribbean people," he said. "One thing that we have been stressing is to go out and put a smile on the people's faces in the Caribbean.

"We want people to wake up in the morning with a smile on their face, seeing West Indians playing good cricket."

The West Indies were the pioneering powerhouses of one-day international (ODI) cricket, winning the first two World Cup titles in 1975 and '79 and finishing runners-up in 1983 on the back of their swashbuckling batting and fearsome fast bowling. They haven't been back to a final since.They weren't even ranked highly enough to get a direct place when the 2019 tournament was cut from 14 teams to 10, having to secure one of the two spots on offer (along with Afghanistan) in qualifying.

But things are changing. An ODI series win at home against top-ranked England seemed to be the confidence boost they needed.The West Indies blasted Pakistan out for 105 in a convincing opening win and had five-time champion Australia in serious trouble at 38-4 before a 15-run loss in their second game.They're next up against a South Africa line-up coming off three straight losses and desperate for a victory to stay in contention. Today's match at Hampshire's Rose Bowl should have shaped up as a barrage of pace, with Kagiso Rabada leading South Africa's attack. But Dale Steyn's withdrawal and other injuries have reduced the Proteas' options in the pace department and forced a strategic rethink.

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