Tuesday, 20 January 2009

New Zealand vs West Indies Tests Reviewed: Bowling

Bowlers ranked by series scores

Edwards (WIn) 20
Vettori (NZl) 19
O'Brien (NZl) 10
Patel (NZl) 8
Powell (WIn) 1
Gayle (WIn) 1
Ryder (NZl) - 1
Nash (WIn) - 3
Mills (NZl) - 4
Taylor (WIn) - 4
Benn (WIn) -10
Franklin (NZl) -11
Baker (WIn) -12
Gillespie (NZl) -15

Edwards had a good tour. He was a bit expensive, but took wickets at an impressive rate. Powell was a bit better at preventing runs, but more than a bit worse at taking wickets. However, if he can improve even a little bit on taking wickets, without getting worse at preventing runs, he would give West Indies a very good pair of bowlers, especially with Taylor also flirting with the 'at least useful' category. Nash offered more support, but it's hard to make too much of such a short series, in the light of his relative lack of international experience. The point being that given the immense frailty of the West Indies' batting order, they desperately need a trio of average-or-better wicket takers in order to have any chance in Test matches.

New Zealand makes a case for bowling two spinners against the West Indies. Vettori and Patel amassed 27 points, which is equivalent to one exceptional bowler. England should take note, especially since there is a history of useful spin bowling on West Indies' tracks. Apart from that, you really have to be concerned at the state of New Zealand's bowling. Against a lineup of two batsmen and nine also-rans, their pace options scored all of -21. It could be that West Indies are just that much better against pace - more food for English thoughts - but it could also be that New Zealand pace bowlers are not very good. Although the Black Caps survived a drop this series, on the evidence of the bowling I don't fancy their long-term ability to keep above the Maroon Caps.

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