West Indies fast bowlers want to create their own legacy
West Indies brought not one, not two but seven seam bowlers to this ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, adding pace and bounce to a tournament that was billed as one for big runs.
- Caribbean side have been aggressive with the ball so far
- West Indies take on South Africa in Southampton on Monday
Though totals are starting to creep upwards of 350, fast bowlers have found there is something for them too and the West Indian pack have been particularly effective in exploiting conditions. Naturally, that has stirred memory banks and talk of their past greats has started doing the rounds. But this is a new team, with their own ambitions who are seeking to create a fresh legacy.
“We can’t keep looking back. We’ve got to respect the past but this group of bowlers know they’ve got to find their own identity,” said assistant coach Roddy Estwick ahead of their match against South Africa.
So far, the West Indies bowlers have done just that. They made a statement in bowling Pakistan out for 105 and then dismissed Australia for 288, and Estwick hopes they are only just getting started. “Everybody was saying teams were going to make 360 or 380 at this tournament. We bowled both teams out for under 300 so we are very happy with the way the bowlers have executed,” he said.
Apart from speed, West Indies have also used the short ball well and are starting to develop their own signature style of play.
“We are playing our way, we are playing the way that works for us. That’s aggressive cricket with a smile on our face,” Estwick added.
Ultimately, West Indies only want their fear factor to exist on the field. Off it, they aim to adopt a style that is fun and inspiring to their many supporters at home and in the United Kingdom.
He said: “This is big for the Caribbean people. One thing we have been stressing is to go out and put a smile on people’s face in the Caribbean.
“Obviously, economically we are struggling a little bit so we want people to wake up in the morning at 5am or 6am with a smile on their faces, seeing West Indians playing good cricket.
“And also we want to help the people of London as well, who have had so much pressure cricket-wise in the last 10 or 15 year. We want to put a smile on all black peoples’ faces.”
All that contrasts strongly with their next opposition, South Africa, who are struggling through an injury crisis and have yet to win a game. Estwick believes the absence of Dale Steyn and the possibility of being without the hamstrung Lungi Ngidi only allows for someone else to make a name for themselves at this tournament.
“We have to respect South Africa and we know that they have got world-class players. Kagiso Rabada is the No.1 bowler over the last few years and as the great Bob Marley said, ‘When one door is closed, another is opened.’ People get opportunity in strange ways. When you get the opportunity you’ve got to grab it,” Estwick added.
“We’ve got to respect them but we mustn’t fear them.”