Ahead of the Test series against England, West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick has said that their fast bowlers can pose a challenge to any team in the world. The series will be the first international affair in cricket after all forms of the sports came to a crashing halt across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we’ve done is improve our fitness. That’s one of the key things. If you look back in the 80s, that’s one thing the fast bowlers had, was fitness; and the other thing is they’re now understanding fast bowling, they’re getting to the age, Kemar and Shannon, where they’re leading the attack, they’re very, very experienced. Jason Holder has become a lot better Test match bowler in the last two years, Alzarri Joseph is now beginning to show his potential. So we’ve got four fast bowlers where we can challenge any team in the world,” Estwick said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
“Once we’ve improved that fitness, we can maintain pressure right through the day – before we tended to flag a little bit – and while our fitness continues to improve, that’s going to be key for us. If we can get that fitness and match sharpness up again, we’ll be ready to challenge the English batters,” he added.
Estwick was also seen hailing the reserve pool of the bowlers as he said that the West Indies have not had that many number of fast bowlers coming through since 1980s. However, he also suggested that the bowlers should be taken right care of and that a proper structure be created to fill in the void once the senior bowlers retire.
“Yes, I personally think so, it’s a very exciting time. Most of these boys that are going to be reserves now were involved in the 2016 U19 World Cup. Keemo Paul is not here, so he’s another exciting one. We’ve got quite a few more knocking around in the Caribbean as well, Keon Harding, who was part of that 2016 tournament. Five or six of those boys are beginning to come through. Young Dominic Drakes, the son of Vasbert Drakes. Odean Smith in Jamaica.
“So there’s six or seven around the age of 20, 22-23, so that’s really exciting. Once we can put programmes in place and get them up to a certain standard and get them fit, we should have that pyramid we’re looking for, and once Shannon and Roachy move on, we’ve got people to fill their boots,” Estwick explained.
West Indies are set to face England in a three-match Test series next month. The matches will be the first since the cricket calendar was halted by the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March. It will be played in a bio-secure environment with fans barred from attending.