Australia’s stand-in coach Justin Langer says slow pitches in the Caribbean are preventing the regional side from re-emerging as a powerhouse in world cricket.
Langer has criticised pitch preparation in the region, saying he is baffled that they were being prepared to help spinners instead of fast bowlers.
Langer, in charge of the Australian squad while Darren Lehmann was given a respite, says batsmen will improve once pitches are prepared to suit the abundance of fast bowling talent emerging in the Caribbean.
“There’s so much natural talent. We’ve seen it in the net bowlers. I’m in awe of how many young fast bowlers you’ve got in the West Indies,” said Langer.
“We’ve seen it in Guyana, we’ve seen it in St Kitts, we’ve seen it in Barbados, and yet you play on wickets that bounce about this high. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
World Champions Australia defeated number eight-ranked West Indies by 58 runs to win the tri-series tournament, which also involved third-ranked South Africa.
The Australian interim coach said he had been in awe of the talent he had seen among local net bowlers over the past month.
“There is so much fast-bowling talent here. You’ve got big, tall, beautiful athletes, and they run in and bowl fast and they keep bowling all day, but I don’t understand why they play on such dead, low, lifeless wickets. It doesn’t make any sense to us,” he said.
“If you could harness the natural ability you’ve got in the West Indies with those tall fast bowlers … it would get the batsmen more used to facing fast bowling, more used to facing short-pitched bowling. And with the natural talent they’ve got it won’t take long. But you’ve got to face it. You’ve got to be exposed to it.”
Langer says he was impressed with the 19-year-old Leeward pacer Alzarri Joseph who bowled in net sessions against the Australians during the St Kitts leg of the tour.
Joseph was part of the West Indies side that won the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh earlier this year.
“He reminded me of Andre Russell. He bowled fast, beautiful yorkers – and what an athlete. I reckon I’ve seen four or five who have really, really raw talent, and they just kept bowling. That’s what I kept loving. They just kept running in and bowling all day,” said Langer.
“These kids just kept running in and bowling fast, and it was bloody hot … I do know they gave our batsmen a workout, and there was talent. The talent is very obvious.” (CMC)