Stresses and strains

Coach Williams sticking by Bravo, Barath despite poor seasons

By Garth Wattley

It was a forgettable regional season for both Darren Bravo and Adrian Barath, but national coach Kelvin Williams sticking by them.

Diminutive opener Barath, seeking to resurrect his stalled international career, was dropped for the last two games of Trinidad and Tobago’s Regional Four-Day campaign. Bravo played throughout but averaged only 24.58, with three scores over 50.

His dismissal on the third and what turned out to be the final afternoon of the four-day semi-final against the Windward Islands at the Queen’s Park Oval, was not dissimilar to his first innings first ball dismissal--caught in the slips, hanging his bat at a ball outside off-stump. This time, after being put down first ball, he got to eight with two streaky boundaries through the slip cordon. And when finally dismissed, Bravo left the crease swishing his bat not in agitation at his folly as he typically would, but in despair.

“Darren struggled,” coach Williams acknowledged following his side’s collapse for 105 in their pursuit of 340 for victory on Monday. “He came back from New Zealand and I give him credit; he actually put his hands up and came out and played. He scored three 50’s, two-hundred-and-something (295) runs. We expect  more from him and he knows that. He always mentioned it. He admitted that things didn’t go well for him so therefore he has to go back and work on the areas which he needs to improve on.”

Williams admitted however that the West Indies left-hander’s problems were not just technical.

“It’s more mental, mental application at the crease basically,” he said. 

“We know he came back from New Zealand with a stress related matter. That’s what he came back from New Zealand for. So therefore, sometimes a lot of things could go wrong, but as I said, he batted well in certain innings where he scored three 50’s and then in certain innings where if you look at it (he would), wave at balls outside the off-stump which the old Darren Bravo would have left alone. So all these things are mental things.”

Bravo left the West Indies’ tour of New Zealand during the one-day series for what the West Indies Cricket Board described as “personal reasons.”

Howewver, Barath  has struggled for form and confidence since playing his last Test against England back in June of 2012. This season, he managed a top score of 39 in nine innings and averaged 20.37. But Williams said the player’s failures were not the result of rash batting.

“One thing about A.B, he wasn’t really getting out playing attacking shots. The old Adrian Barath, you know he’s gonna cut, he’s going to do this (but) that wasn’t happening. To me, he was consciously trying to bat for a long period of time but it didn’t happen for him. Again, he needs to go back and think about how he is going to approach things.”

The struggles of Bravo and Barath, two of the brightest talents in the T&T setup, were symptomatic of the inconsistency prevalent among all the batsmen.

Despite four different players recording centuries during the season, no one averaged higher than opener Evin Lewis’ 39.00. And while Williams credited his bowlers for doing “a fantastic job,” he noted that, “sometimes you need to put a high price on your wicket. I always say I need somebody to do the dirty work for me, somebody to grind and grind and grind and accumulate runs.”

T&T badly needed someone to drop anchor on Monday afternoon when the wickets began to tumble following an opening stand of 50 between Lendl Simmons and Lewis. But not for the first time in recent seasons, a top order slump precipitated a dramatic innings crash. The 105 against the Windwards was their lowest total of the season but their fourth below 200.

Regular skipper Denesh Ramdin, who played only in the semi-final, hoped that the recent addition of a team psychologist and a longer regional season starting later this year would help his team.

“I would say more cricket would help. It would be more experience, more guys being in certain situations that would help them. We have a psychologist with the team to try to help guys be more mentally ready...So hopefully our players could take advantage and work on that side, including myself. I’m always willing to learn and there’s room for improvement.”

With the local season still in progress, however, Williams hopes the national cricketers take the opportunity to show some hunger.

“The boys go back to play club cricket and I told them inside there (the dressing room) they need to dominate,” he said. “In terms of batting, they have to look for big runs and if you are a bowler, you have to get wickets...I just want them to go and dominate.”

2014 T&T Regional Four-Day averages


M Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100s 50s

E Lewis 7 13 2 429 78 39.00 - 4

K Pollard 2 3 0 115 111 38.33 1 -

J Mohammed 7 12 0 456 220 38.00 1 1

R Emrit 7 11 1 288 100 28.80 1 0

A Hosein 3 5 1 113 102* 28.25 1 0

D Bravo 7 12 0 295 69 24.58 - 3

L Simmons 2 4 0 87 31 21.75 - -

A Barath 5 9 1 163 39 20.37 - -

S Katwaroo 6 10 0 197 91 19.70 - 1

Y Cariah 3 4 0 77 49 19.25 - -

J Augustus 3 5 0 92 61 18.40 - 1

I Khan 7 12 1 189 56* 17.18 - 1

D Ramdin 1 2 0 32 25 16.00 - -

A Jaggernauth 2 3 1 26 13 13.00 - -

M Richards 4 8 0 96 25 12.00 - -

S Gabriel 7 9 5 22 5 5.50 - -

R Jaipaul 3 3 2 3 2* 3.00 - -

D Cruickshank 1 2 0 0 0 0.00 - -


O M Runs W BB Ave

Pollard 6 1 20 2 2/20 10.00

Hosein 47.5 4 166 12 6/33 13.83

Khan 183 28 595 33 5/46 18.03

Richards 50 8 151 8 3/15 18.87

Gabriel 160 40 464 22 4/69 21.09

Jaipaul 81.4 19 201 9 4/56 22.33

Jaggernauth 66 13 184 7 4/78 26.28

Mohammed 95.5 26 217 8 2/17 27.12

Emrit 111.3 29 338 11 3/39 30.72

Cariah 40 4 140 1 1/15 140.00

Cruickshank 15 2 72 0 –– ––

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