Home杭州桑拿 › Ryan Harris: West Indies bowlers dangerous, but Darren Bravo needs to lead their batsmen

Ryan Harris: West Indies bowlers dangerous, but Darren Bravo needs to lead their batsmen

I was fortunate that the majority of my 27 Tests were in key series, against England and South Africa. To have taken a lot of my wickets against the likes of A.B. de Villiers, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen was very satisfying.

I was also proud to remove the likes of Tharanga Paranavitana, Adrian Barath and Mohammed Shami. Why? Because a Test wicket is a Test wicket no matter the profile of the batsman. I cherished every Test I played; we all did. The current ns still do.

That is why I’m sure the gloomy predictions about the West Indies in this Test series being made by the media will not be replicated in ‘s dressing room.

This is partly philosophical: the moment you take your opposition for granted you’re inviting things to go pear-shaped. Yes, you’ve got people saying it’s the worst West Indies side in a long time, and focusing on how they lost to the boys in the CA XI. But you only need one of two of their players to come off to put you under the pump.

The other reason will be wary is practical: the way the West Indies performed when they hosted us before the Ashes. I know it doesn’t look like it from the scorecards but they gave us a good run for our money, put us under the pump a couple of times. If it wasn’t for a couple of key innings at vital times, such as Adam Voges’ century in the first innings in Dominica and Steve Smith’s 199 in Jamaica, they could’ve run through us.

We are expected to win and the even though guys will be thinking that in the back of their minds, they’ll also know it won’t be an easy task.

I actually think the West Indies’ bowling is quite dangerous. Jerome Taylor is their most consistent paceman and was excellent in the second Test – at one stage he had 5-29 off 20 overs. Kemar Roach has been good over here. Shannon Gabriel is erratic, but he’s got some pace.

I don’t think their bowling is the issue. It’s obviously their batting.

I had to watch the 2015 series on TV, but I had a first-hand view of the West Indies in 2012 as part of ‘s squad. The most glaring difference is: where is Darren Bravo, who was then ranked among the best batsmen in the world?

When we were doing our scouting for that earlier series in the Windies it was impossible to overlook Bravo. At that stage he was a 23-year-old who had played only 12 Tests but was averaging 52.5, with three centuries and six half-centuries.

It wasn’t just the numbers that got our attention. It was his reputation – that his technique was reminiscent of Brian Lara’s. That was a big call, to be compared to one of the best players of all time, but based on what I saw of him in 2012 I thought it was fair. That may sound silly given he averaged only 37 for the series, but he had four innings where he reached 30. He did well, just without making a big score to prove it.

I expected the elegant left-hander be the next big thing out of the West Indies. The fact he has averaged only 35 in the 3 1/2 years since that series, and has an overall batting average only barely above 40 surprises me greatly.

Bravo has a lot of potential. Given his technique is good, I don’t know why it hasn’t clicked for him. It’s just disappointing he hasn’t yet gone on to be the player he could be – and should be. It just seems he hasn’t been consistent, or played to anywhere near his potential. But he’s a dangerous player who likes the bigger games. He’ll be one the ns will be looking out for. It’s been 10 Tests since he got a century, and what a time it would be to fix that.

While it was sad to see Mitch Starc go down in Adelaide, I was rapt at the response of Josh Hazlewood. He was able to put the ball consistently in a “Josh Hazlewood” area, his pace was good, and he was swinging it and bowling a perfect length. And he got the rewards.

A lot of people consider Hazlewood a stock bowler. I still think he’s primarily a strike bowler. If you give him the new ball he’ll still be able to take wickets, but when partnerships are building he also has that ability to pull back and bowl dots. Captains love that, and value it. That was reinforced during my playing days when the shine came off the new ball and Mitch Johnson would take over the strike-bowler role. Peter Siddle and I would pull back, contain, and let Mitch go and do what he had to do.

From afar, it seems the beneficiary of Starc’s absence will be James Pattinson. They both made their Test debut at the same time, at the start of 2011-12, and are both talented bowlers. The reason for the big difference in what they have produced at international level, with Starc playing 25 Tests and Pattinson only 13, is simple: injury.

Patto has got the opportunity he’s been waiting for and working very hard to get. It’s a good opportunity for him to settle back in. Hopefully with Starc being out for a bit he won’t feel he has to try too hard to keep his spot, that he can just go out and not worry about anything except bowling and putting the ball in the right spot.

He really is a stereotypical fast-bowler: nice off the field, snarling on it. He’s got that passion, and he loves playing for . He’s a great bowler to have in your team and a great man to have in your team. He’s been through a fair bit with injury. Hopefully this is a milestone for him to get confidence in his body, so he can show everyone what he can do.

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