The West Indies face England in the first of a three-Test series at Lord’s from today with the tourists’ batting likely to determine the course of the match.
Should conditions prove as seam friendly as they have for much of the early part of the English season, the West Indies’ top order could struggle to provide the kind of platform that will help improve on a record of just two wins in 30 Tests since beating England in Jamaica in 2009.
Much could depend on world number one batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who has performed many a rescue mission for the West Indies during a career that last month saw him become only the 10th batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. However, the 37-year-old Guyanese left-hander generally prefers to bat no higher than five in the order.
There has been talk of promoting Chanderpaul up the order but it appears he is set to stay put – at least for the time being.
“It’s something we’ve thought about,” said West Indies coach Ottis Gibson. “Our batting revolves around Shiv — he’s very comfortable in the position he is at the moment and he’s doing a good job for us. We’ve decided to leave it as it is at the moment but it’s something we haven’t completely ruled out.”
Meanwhile, England will be keen to make a commanding start after seeing their status as the world’s number one Test side diminished somewhat during a recent 3-0 defeat by Pakistan in the UAE and a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka.
“I don’t think we need to prove anything,” said Matt Prior, the England wicket-keeper. “We’ve played good cricket over a number of years now. After the glitches in the winter, I know everyone is very keen and pumped up to perform from the off this summer.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2012.
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