West Indies profiles
The Analyst weighs up the West Indies squad
Darren Sammy (captain)
Jaunty all rounder from St Lucia, the island’s first international, better suited to one-day cricket than Tests. A tall, loping and accurate medium-pacer with good variations, a clean-striking batsman and sharp fielder close to the bat. Now captain of the West Indies and doing a good job as leader. Tends to bat low down in the order around no.8, and can open the bowling, although his pace is negligible.
Indisputably the cleanest striker of the ball in world cricket, Gayle is a colossal figure at the crease, standing and catapulting the ball frequently out of the park. Has minimal foot movement but an amazing eye and monumental power, favouring massive blows straight over the bowler’s head or over long on. The quicker they bowl, the further he hits it. A languid character, he is apt to lapses in concentration and, therefore, tame dismissals. Despite a non-existent run up he also bowls a steady off-break with a mean quicker ball. Has a fairly contemptuous attitude to authority, however, and after his latest fall-out with the West Indies board in 2011, it looked like he had played his last international match. But the peace has been made and he is back in the West Indies one-day side for the series against England. No boundary may be big enough!
A giant of a man with power and stealth to match. Gives the ball a violent thump - his first scoring stroke for his native Trinidad was a straight six - and he seems ideally suited to Twenty20 cricket. The Mumbai Indians paid $750,000 for him. Has little technique but is a devastating striker of the ball. He’s also a mean bowler with very deceptive changes of pace and a stunning fielder at backward point who covers vast amounts of ground and makes a habit of taking stunning catches. Had a disappointing IPL 2012 but is never to be underestimated.
Younger brother of all-rounder Dwayne, a stylish and emerging left hander with just a handful of international appearances. His Test average flatters him at present but he promises much in the future. More than a hint of Brian Lara about the way he stands and lashes the ball through the offside with fast hands and lightening footwork. Disappointed in the Tests and will be looking to make amends in the ODIs.
Confrontational all-rounder who has hovered on the fringes of the West Indies squad for some years owing to a slightly controversial history of behaviour. At best a beefy striker of the ball who will suddenly emerge from his shell to club straight sixes and a tricky slow bowler who bowls a very deceptive quicker ball, though there are sometimes question marks about his action. Once considered useful but unpredictable, his batting reached new heights in the Test series.
Talented opening batsman mainly used in one day cricket. Shot to prominence with a superb 282 against England for West Indies A when they toured the Caribbean 3 years ago but hasn’t really kicked on. Now might be his opportunity. The nephew of former West Indies opener and now Ireland coach Phil Simmons.
Strongly built top-order batsman from St Lucia who has been deputising in the West Indies one-day side for Chris Gayle and looks to bunt the ball down the ground or thump it square of the wicket. Uncomplicated but lacks real batting pedigree.
Busy wicket-keeper batsman who has been in and out of the West Indies side but has a decent batting technique and is nimble behind the stumps. Made a fine hundred in the 3rd Test at Edgbaston.
Compelling all-rounder always looking to make an impact on the game. An extravagant batsman who loves to throw caution to the wind and climb into the bowling - especially good at thrashing the ball over extra cover or deep mid wicket. Has great variety with the ball, using back-of-the-hand slower balls and crafty bouncers. Hard to slog despite an apparent lack of pace. Excellent fielder who loves a flamboyant jig after taking a catch in the deep. The ideal one-day cricketer.
Tall and aggressive, Smith is a mighty clubber of a cricket ball, and rose to prominence in the IPL 2012 by taking 14 off the final three balls of the match bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus to steal victory for the Mumbai Indians. Also bowls bustling medium pace and is the West Indies best fielder.
Improved opening bowler with brisk pace and bounce, who bowls a probing line. Rampaul isn't breakneck quick but with a good strong action extracts anything he can find in the pitch and can be dangerous with the new ball. Conversely he can be cannon-fodder with the old one.
Exciting and often rapid fast bowler with very low, slingy action rather in the manner of Lasith Malinga. Can cause any batsman a problem on his day and bowls a vicious in-swinging yorker and a nasty skidding bouncer, but because of his low action he does offer a lot of juicy balls to hit and tends to be expensive. But will keep running in all day and has an effusive wicket celebration.
Combative, slightly zany fast bowler who charges in for all he is worth and can propel the ball consistently at above 90mph. His shortish stature and the fact that he rarely moves the ball in the air or off the pitch means he can be expensive but he never stops trying. Was overlooked by the West iIndies for three years until a sudden recall v England at Edgbaston when he became the unlikely holder of the best ever score by a Test no.11, making a stunning 95 (beating Zaheer Khan’s 75) in a remarkable last-wicket stand of 143 with Denesh Ramdin. Very engaging character who loves to chat in keeping with his uncle, the former West Indies left hander Carlisle Best who used to commentate while he was batting.
Brilliant spinning discovery from Trinidad, who made his Test debut after only six first class matches. Narine has bamboozled every batsman he has bowled at with his interesting mix of off breaks and Carrom balls (leg breaks.) Gets lots of top spin on his deliveries and is a master of deception. No one seems to be able to pick his Carrom ball and after his resounding success playing for Trinidad in T20 cricket in early 2012 was snapped up for $700,000 by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and was instrumental in them winning the tournament, taking equal most wickets (24) at an extraordinarily low economy rate of just 5.3 runs per over. Highlight was him clean bowling Sachin Tendulkar with a vicious off break. Has great control and seems to have a good understanding of batsmen, but his action will be monitored with interest.
A big strapping young fast bowler with a lot of pace and bounce. Only one international appearance before the world cup, but performed well there and impressed enough observers to suggest he may be an emerging force. Can also give the ball a beefy clump and is a brilliant fielder. Has been providing useful contributions in Twenty20 tournaments round the world and has great potential.