Director of cricket Jimmy Adams took just one positive for the West Indies from the just-concluded Test series against South Africa—the performance of Jayden Seales.
The teenage fast bowler made his Test debut in the two-match series against the Proteas which the Windies lost 2-0. In the two matches however, Seales picked up five wickets, including three in his very first spell in international cricket. And former WI captain Adams was impressed.
“Young Jayden Seales for a man who is 20 years old (sic) pitching up in his first couple Test matches, it was great to watch,” Adams said on the Mason and Guest cricket radio talk show in Barbados on Tuesday.
“He is a talented kid, yes, not a bad physical specimen. He’s a strong lad for his age,” Adams noted, adding, “but to see the consistency, that’s the word that came to mind when I was watching him go through the two Test matches.
“I know the pitch was helpful, yes, but he didn’t get carried away... If you had told me that I was watching a veteran of 30, 35 Test matches and I didn’t know him, I would have believed you and that for me was a real standout in the two Test matches, watching that young man come into international cricket at that level.”
Overall, however, Adams was concerned by the way the Windies went down in the two matches—lost by an innings and 62 runs and 158 runs respectively. “While I would say that South Africa started as favourites, I still am disappointed in the result,” he said. “I know guys are trying (but) you would have wanted to see a little bit more fight from the batting unit generally.
“I think what was disappointing for me was seeing a batting unit not fire at all. (To) fall below 200 in four consecutive innings, I think was not what we wanted to see. Hopefully we can get a bounce-back when we resume Test cricket against Pakistan later in the summer.”
Pressed however on the possible causes of the repeated failures of the batsmen, Adams, stressing that he was not making excuses said: “I do think there is an urgent need to start making sure that we have consistently hard, true wickets and to start encouraging franchises to deliver, starting from youth cricket right up, to see if we can get the sort of international attacks that we are likely to face from the top three, four teams in the world.”
And asked whether he felt the WI batsmen had regressed over the last two years, Adams focussed on how they deal with fast bowling directed between the waist and head.
“You could ask whether in that particular area, are we improving? Are we seeing players who year in, year out, are getting better in those scenarios, or are they not progressing as fast as we would want them to do, and I think that is certainly a question that I would throw out.”
And making reference to the standard set by batting greats Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar, Adams posed some questions about the Windies players.
“As soon as they felt there was a chink in their armour, they went straight at it...Do we have that mindset amongst our quote, unquote “elite” players in the Caribbean? And when I say elite, I’m not talking just about international, I’m talking about first-class cricketers as well. Are they attacking themselves hard enough, and not just batsmen—bowlers, fielders, wicketkeepers.”
The director of cricket added: “The one thing you can guarantee at international level now is that much quicker than in my time, you will know where your weaknesses are... There is no getting away from it... The critical question is, am I as a player embracing that? Am I taking ownership of that, such that as soon as I get the spare time, I am attacking myself...because I know the opposition have it (information on a players’ weak areas). Is it that we are not attacking these issues as clinically and as ruthlessly as we need to?”