‘If chasing target takes till tea time, so be it’ – West Indies batting coach

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Pakistan v West Indies, 3rd Test, Sharjah

West Indies batting coach Toby Radford’s advice to his players going into the final day in Sharjah is bat calmly till tea if required, in their attempt to get 39 more for a rare away-Test win. The main thing to avoid, he said, was being in a “rush” to get there, or panicking if a wicket fell.

Toby Radford on Kraigg Brathwaite: 'He is very unflappable as a character. When he gets into his bubble, he just wants to bat' (Photo: AFP)
Toby Radford on Kraigg Brathwaite: ‘He is very unflappable as a character. When he gets into his bubble, he just wants to bat’ (Photo: AFP)

“We have to stay as calm as possible, and in a way try not to think about the board because that is what creates the pressure,” Radford said. “Pick up the ones and twos, don’t rush to get there, and eat away at the target. If it takes till tea time, so be it. There is no rush to get there.

“If you lose one or two wickets early on, it is easy to panic, and 150 is a funny score to get. It is not a big score, but you might have to bat a period of time, even 70 overs on a slowish wicket.”

The plan when the chase began, he said, was for players to play their natural games instead of letting the scoreboard dictate their approach. Still, West Indies fell to 67 for 5, before Shane Dowrich and Kraigg Brathwaite – two players who were central to West Indies resistance in the first innings too – put them back on track. Radford credited both for the temperament they showed under pressure.

“The plan was to bat normally. Kraigg Brathwaite plays that way usually. He has been fantastic in both innings so far, and shown great concentration and application. He is very unflappable as a character. He is a quiet guy, and when he gets into his bubble, he just wants to bat. He can bat six hours, eight, ten…

“And I thought Dowrich played very well. It is easy in a situation like that [when there’s a collapse in a small chase] to go extremely defensive, but every opportunity he had to score he took it and we started eating into that lead.”

Radford was also impressed with captain Jason Holder’s bowling. He took a maiden Test five-for, helping his side keep the target well within reach. Radford said varying things up helped him in this innings.

“Jason was fantastic to get five like that. He is always very tight and very accurate, and here I thought he used his bouncer well. He didn’t let batters settle. Sometimes he can be a little predictable, but he kept batters guessing in this innings.” (ESPNcricinfo) 

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