Top-order shuffle crucial in absence of specialists – Brathwaite

Thursday, November 08, 2018

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CHENNAI, India (CMC) — Captain Carlos Brathwaite said experimenting at the top of the order was necessary as West Indies searched for a solution to their opening woes in the ongoing Twenty20 International series against India.

In the opening match in Kolkata, the Windies partnered Shai Hope with Denesh Ramdin, but then opted for Shimron Hetmyer and Hope in last Sunday's second match in Lucknow.

Neither combination brought rewards and Brathwaite said without any specialist openers on tour, management had been forced to experiment.

“We didn't come on tour with an out-and-out opener, so we're still trying to find that best opening combination,” the all-rounder said.

“There were a few theories in the first game as well as this [second] game about how we wanted to send the order for different reasons. Ultimately, none of the two really worked because we never got off to a great start in the first six [overs] in the first two games, but working with the players we have on tour, it was difficult to choose the perfect batting pair.”

Hope and Ramdin put on 16 off 13 balls in the opening match, while Hope and Hetmyer could muster just seven in the second game. West Indies suffered a five-wicket and 71-run defeat in the two matches, to concede the three-match series.

West Indies have been hamstrung by the unavailability of their frontline opening pair for the series, with veteran Chris Gayle making himself unavailable for the tour and Evin Lewis withdrawing from the squad just days before the series.

With the final T20 set for Chennai on Sunday, Brathwaite said hopefully the Windies could come up with a successful pairing to end the series on a high note.

“We're trying and up until the theory works out, I guess it will look bad and it will give the pundits something to say,” he pointed out.

“But until then we as a management group, and even as a players group, we need to make the best decisions we think, at the point time, with the players who are here and try to go out there and win games for the West Indies.

“We tried that in both games and it didn't work batting-wise, so the third game we'll regroup and see if we can put in a performance that the fans of the West Indies will be proud of,” Brathwaite concluded.

Sunday's defeat was the Windies' ninth in 11 outings and their fourth-straight series defeat.

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