More clarity required against India’s spinners, says the West Indies vice-captain
On Wednesday, Pooran, the West Indies T20I vice-captain, showed why he is rated highly, anchoring a floundering innings with a 43-ball 61 from No. 3 against India in the first T20I. It kept West Indies in the contest and allowed them to post 157, which he later felt was “ten or 15 short”. While it wasn’t a flawless effort, Pooran’s adaptability against both pace and spin was something his team-mates would do well to note.
“We fell short, and that is where the game definitely slipped,” Pooran said. “We can’t fault the bowlers, to be honest. As batsmen, we need to pace [the innings] much smarter, so it was definitely the batting [that let them down]. We need to continue to build partnerships and negate spinners better.”
What should the others be doing to play spin better?
“We were in two minds against them,” Pooran explained. “Whether to attack them or keep them out of the game. We got caught there. It is a small fix. We have to be more clear in the next game to execute our plans. It was a bit tricky today. The ball was stopping on the surface. It was two-paced. When the spinners and pacers bowled back of a length, you had to adjust to the pace off the pitch, so hitting through the line was difficult early on.
“Dew was as big a factor as well. When we were bowling, a lot of guys were wiping the ball. The guys bowled a lot of full tosses as well [because of dew] towards the end, so conditions played a big factor. The wicket also played a lot better in the second half, it came on a lot better. That said, India batted really well, have to give them credit.”
“If you think about it and look at T20 cricket all over the world, it’s about being smart”
His drift and the lengths he bowled in taking the ball across, meant they didn’t get too many deliveries in the hitting arc. Bishnoi delivered as many as four dots in the 13th over, his third, as Hosein tried to hit out. He was eventually dismissed in the following over for 10 off 12 balls. This strategy may not have worked on the night, but Pooran felt the call to have him come up ahead of Pollard was a peek into their mindset of being flexible.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo