West Indies could not have been dealt a bigger blow ahead of their four-Test series against India, as Jerome Taylor, who has been the spearhead of their bowling attack over the last few years, has called time on his 46-match Test career. The West Indian selectors named the 12-man squad for the Test series against India, yesterday, bereft of Jerome Taylor, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach – three integral players for them in recent times.
Taylor’s announcement has come at an inappropriate time and in my opinion, significantly weakened the West Indies and their bid to give the visiting Indians a stiff competition, at least. He is a natural athlete who, from a bowling point of view, can move the ball both ways and hits the bat really hard. Jerome Taylor, who will continue to play ODI and T20I cricket for the national side, last played a Test this past January, when West Indies toured Australia for a three-Test series.
Shannon Gabriel is the only out-and-out pacer in the West Indian squad for the series against India. All-rounders Carlos Brathwaite and Jason Holder (C) will have to assume bigger responsibilities, now that Jerome Taylor isn’t going to be the spearhead of their attack who they could have turned to when in need of an in-road.
The obtrusive aspect about Taylor was the threat he carried with the new ball as well as the old ball, with which he was very much capable of bringing reverse swing into the equation.
Arguably his best bowling performance in Test cricket came against the touring England in Jamaica in 2009. The Poms were destroyed in their second innings by Taylor, who ran through the English top-order comprising of Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, and Kevin Pietersen among others. He picked eight wickets in the Test match, but his five-for (5/11) in the second innings handed England a hiding. Their 51 all-out is their third-lowest total ever in Test cricket till date.
India will now fancy their chances of beating West Indies at their own den, just as they did when they last toured the Caribbean in 2011.
Do you think Jerome Taylor’s retirement will dampen the mood in the West Indies camp, or rejuvenate them? Have your say in the comments below.