Dwaynes can end all-rounder search

It is one of the puzzles of West Indies cricket that it should have produced Sir Garry Sobers, the king of all-rounders but so few others fit to grace the royal circle.

While Pakistan have had Imran Khan, England Ian Botham, India Kapil Dev and New Zealand Sir Richard Hadlee, the most authentic West Indian all-rounder since Sobers was Bernard Julien, the underachieving right-handed batsman and left-arm swing bowler of the Seventies.

In their era of invincibility, under Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards a decade later, all-purpose players were redundant. While Lloyd, Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Larry Gomes piled on the runs, the proliferation of fast bowlers swept the opposition aside. Even then, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Andy Roberts and Curtly Ambrose were capable enough batsmen to post at least one Test half-century.

Nowadays, it is cause for celebration if their successors who occupy the lower order cobble together 20. None of the five fast bowlers chosen for the forthcoming Test series averages better than Tino Best's 8.77, none has a higher score than Pedro Collins' 24.

It is a deficiency that Richards, in his two years as head of the selection panel that controversially ended last week, has sought to put right. Richards knew first-hand the impact Imran, Botham, Kapil and Hadlee had. He has seen what Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock have done for South Africa, and Andrew Flintoff's influence on England.

In the past year, he and his colleagues have found twoplayers with the potential to fill the void. Two Dwaynes, Bravo, aged 20, and Smith, 21, are aggressive strokeplayers and outstanding fielders but it is their bowling that could make them the genuine all-rounders West Indies require.

Bravo graduated through the system, representing West Indies in the youth World Cup in New Zealand early in 2002, and touring England with the A team that summer, where he averaged 43 in six matches against the counties.

He was, initially, a batsman who bowled a bit. On that tour, he was used for only five overs but, as he has filled out physically, he has impressed with the pace he generates from a quick arm and a strong body action. He was the leading all-rounder in seven matches in last season's domestic Carib Beer Cup, averaging 37 with the bat, and taking 28 wickets at just over 13 runs apiece.

It was enough for Richards and his panel to introduce him to the senior team for the One-day internationals against England and Bangladesh. One of his first deeds was to confirm the West Indies victory in the One-day international in St Lucia with a six over extra-cover off Darren Gough.

He has yet to earn a Test cap but it should not be long in coming. He announced himself on this tour with a 63-ball, unbeaten 100 against Ireland, and Richards has predicted he can beWest Indies' Kallis. The next few months are essential to his development.

As they are for Smith. His advance into the team was less measured than Bravo's. He did not play age-group cricket for West Indies but Richards was so impressed by his rare ability in an unbeaten 94, with nine sixes, in a domestic one-day match for Barbados against Guyana last year, he sent him to South Africa as a replacement for the injured Marlon Samuels.

It was a calculated gamble that Smith repaid with his run-a-ball, unbeaten 105 on Test debut in Cape Town. Like Bravo, he is an exceptional fielder but it is his medium-pace bowling, slower but with more swerve, that could make him into a Flintoff equivalent.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment