Rain hampers Windies practice session

The West Indies team’s outdoor practice for the India series was affected by rain AFP

By Ashish Shukla

Port of Spain, (Trinidad): Jun 2, 2011

Rain in the last few days hampered the West Indies in their practice session at the Queen’s Park Oval, the venue of the first three limited overs matches against India starting Saturday, and they had to sweat it out at the indoor facilities.

As West Indies trooped in Queen’s Park Oval for an intense training session, they were disappointed to learn that rains of last few days had rendered the practice pitches unfit to use.

The squad was left with no option but to train at Bryan Davis Indoor Nets but batting coach, yesteryear’s great Desmond Haynes, wasn’t ready to come to terms with the situation at the venue which will host a Twenty20 International and the first two ODIs of the series.

Haynes sought out 22-year-old Darren Bravo, who is seen as next Brian Lara in this part of the world but had not done well against off-spinners in his young career, for a batting tutorial on the least-damaged pitch with a little mat rolled over the surface.

Haynes threw down his off-spinners for considerable length to the youngster as he made him drive, cut, sweep and more importantly use his feet against the tossed up deliveries.

As Bravo honed up his skills, there was a sensational mirror-image of Lara presented to the bystanders.

The same languid gait, the same nipping of left glove to the groin as he awaited the delivery, the same uncoiling of electric body movement as he struck it.

The fielding session of the West Indian team was eye-catching and certainly designed for a sharp output within the inside ring.

The pitch at Queen’s Park Oval being predicted as slow and low, rotating the strike would be critical and West Indian effort was clearly designed to ensure Indians don’t attempt it without considerable risk.

Players formed a ring and took aim at three stumps in the middle of the Oval, doing it with an intensity which was breathtaking.

There were also sharp catches offered to them from short distance.

West Indian captain Darren Sammy though missed this practice session and came only around the time the boys were heading for indoor nets.

West Indies desperately needs its batting to come good against the Indians for in the preceding Test series against Pakistan, only two half-centuries were managed by its batsmen, one of it by Darren Bravo.

The home side is relying heavily on Bravo to bail them out against the Indians in the upcoming series. Barring, one problem of course.

Bravo has an impressive Test (313 runs at 44.71) and one-day start (631 runs at 33.21) to his career but has surprisingly a large number of dismissals by the off-spinners for any comfort to West Indies.

From Saeed Ajmal to Mohammed Hafeez, Harbhajan Singh to Suresh Raina, Tillakaratne Dilshan to Johan Botha, everyone has had success against him.

Bravo is hailed as future of West Indian batting and certainly has right genes for it as he is related by blood to Lara and his half-brother is Dwayne Bravo, another naturally gifted cricketer.