West Indies search for balance between Tests and T20 league for their players
“There’s no doubt that playing international cricket helps to develop your level of the game,” Coley said. “White-ball [cricket] may be the big money-earner but if you really look at the players who are very good at both red and white balls, they would have had a good grounding in Test cricket. It’s important for us to find that balance. I know the players want to play for the West Indies and we want our best players to play for the West Indies, but the balance is important. It’s also their livelihood. If we can, over the next 12 months, plan out with the members of the different squads how we can best manage to keep everyone as fresh as possible, for international and for franchise cricket, we will have a good chance of being more competitive.”
With that schedule in mind, Holder, in particular, needs to be carefully managed. Despite being the squad’s premier allrounder, he is unlikely to bat higher than No. 8 because of his bowling loads.
“Jason is always someone who gives his all. This morning, I knew he was on fumes,” Coley said. “He always raises his hand up and says, ‘Coach I am going to give everything today’. He continues to be a valuable member of our team because of the volume of bowling that he is required to do. So he ends up batting at No. 8 and has to have a heavy workload batting and bowling. I do believe Jason has a lot of value to add in all formats. He is in the three squads. It becomes important for us to manage him not only physically but mentally.”
South Africa are in a similar position, with no Tests scheduled until December. They are currently exploring the possibility of an ‘A’ team tour to the West Indies over the winter and, like West Indies, are trying to find a way to fit both international and league cricket into the players’ calendar.
“I can say categorically and emphatically that the boys want to play Test cricket, every single one of them,” Shukri Conrad, South Africa’s Test coach, said. “We’ve just got to be very smart in the way we do things. We had our meetings with all these players and it’s come out that every single one of them wants to play more Test cricket. We have just got to manage them properly throughout the leagues.”