At the time of writing this, I was viewing the second Test, day four, of the battle between South Africa and the West Indies. Chasing 391 for victory, the West Indies were at 82 for 7. Immediately, I knew that somewhere along the line, bad shots were played by our batsmen.
This was confirmed when I saw the replay of the dismissal of Jason Holder. The fundamental question that has been asked for a while, and is still being asked, is: are the current players really ready for international Test cricket? Do we really have a plan going forward for better performances?
Now that we have lost the second Test, it’s back to the drawing board. The first recommendation I would make is for skipper Kraigg Brathwaite to bat at number six in the batting order, and look for a genuine opener.
Secondly, we need to send an SOS to Darren Bravo immediately because the middle order is weaker without him and the current middle-order players failed miserably. Give or take, I would bring in Bravo at batting position four, and drop Chase, based on recent performances and record.
Tough luck on young Chanderpaul. He had a bad series with the bat, but it happens. And I will keep him still at the top of the order.
Joshua Da Silva, tough luck to you, too. You fought and got bowled from a delivery that would have troubled any batsman.
As a seasoned campaigner, Jermaine Blackwood needs to come better with the bat. Another thing: why are Mayers and Holder in the same starting 11?
In Test cricket, if a team cannot score 350 to 400 runs in the first innings, that team would lose the match nine out of ten times. The current players need to be cognisant of this reality. Bavuma and his men battered us twice, so we need to learn quickly-because India is our next challenge, where Tests are concerned.
Brian Lara, the greatest batsman of his generation, is in and around the team as a consultant, and the players need to be attentive, receptive and adaptive to the experience and knowledge he brings for better team performances, especially in the area of batting.
I would recommend that the team, in particular the captain, learn the intricacies of the game of chess to develop strategic mindsets when approaching the game.