Nothing gained says Roberts

Tony Becca , Senior Sport Editor

March 25, 1998

CRICKET: St. John's: Former West Indies fast bowler Andy Roberts does not believe that the West Indies gained anything from the six-match Test series which ended yesterday in Antigua.

``Coming off the defeat in Pakistan - a bad defeat at that, it was good that we won the series, but what did we gain from it, nothing.'' According to the former selector, the West Indies should have used the series to build a team which, in a little while, can take on the world.

``We missed a great opportunity to put in a few youngsters and groom them. The England bowling is the weakest in the world, and it was a good opportunity, for example, to have exposed a couple of young batsmen. Of course, you want to win, but if you are building, you don't look behind - you look ahead.

``In Pakistan, Sherwin (Campbell) did reasonably well, Stuart (Williams) did not. We should have stayed with Sherwin, but we should have put in a young opening batsmen - even if not on the poor pitches in Trinidad and Guyana, certainly at Kensington and here (the ARG).''

So who is the young batsmen? ``I really don't know. Since I stopped being a selector, I have not been going around. I have never seen young (Leon) Garrick for example, so I don't know how good he is. But a young player can't be good one day and bad the next. If as a selector, you believe he is good, you have to stay with him. Last year Garrick was in the one-day squad against India, so what has happened to him today?''

The other area in which Roberts believes the West Indies missed the boat, was fast bowling.

``It is true that the West Indies fast bowlers are not as good, as fast, as once upon a time, and it is good to see a spinner in the attack. No batsman loves playing good fast bowling however. You cope with it for a while, but sooner or later it gets to you. Good fast bowling is important to winning, and we should have used the opportunity to expose (Nixon) McLean, (Franklyn) Rose and (Mervyn) Dillon than we did. We should have used them, two of them all the time, along with (Curtley) Ambrose and (Courtney) Walsh. Those two cannot last forever - in fact only one of them should go to South Africa.''

According to Roberts, McLean has pace and can become better and faster the more he plays, Rose has shown that he is a competitor, but he is a bit inconsistent and will only get better if he plays more often. ``You don't improve, you don't gain experience sitting in the pavilion,'' continued Roberts said that ``they should have played instead of a bowler who was nearly as old as Ambrose and Walsh.''

Selectors, said Roberts, have a responsibility - and that is to have a plan. ``You don't select teams from one match to the other. You must have a plan, a programme, and you select teams accordingly.''

What about Ramnarine? ``I think he has the potential to develop. The think about him is that he spins the ball, and he is eager to learn. He has control also, but I think what he needs now is variation. He needs to bowl the googly a bit more, and more accurately - especially to left-handers. He wants to be a bit tighter also. Cricket is a patient game - and sometimes you have to wait and make the batsman come at you.

``What I like about him especially however, is his attitude. He is aggressive, but more than that, he wants to learn, and that is something I have not seen in young West Indies players for a long time. ``As soon as they make the West Indies team, the youngsters believe that they have arrived - that that is it. Ramnarine is going somewhere - especially now that we do not have a battery of express fast bowlers.''

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission

Date-stamped : 26 Mar1998 - 12:56