West Indies will clash with South Africa in a low-key two-match Test series starting at Gros Islet from the 10th of June. The series will provide a chance for both the teams to revive their dwindling fortunes in the format. West Indies are ranked at number six while South Africa have dipped to number seven in Test cricket. West Indies drew their last Test series at home against Sri Lanka in 2021 whereas South Africa went down 0-2 in Pakistan.
Amazingly, two teams last met in a Test series way back in 2014-15 when hosts South Africa were victorious 2-0 (in the three-match series).
West Indies recorded a 2-0 win in Bangladesh in early 2021 – it was a rare series win in the format for them. Their only other major success in the last few years came in 2019 when they beat England 2-1 at home.
Otherwise it has been a continuous struggle for the West Indies in the format with a home-series win against New Zealand way back in 2012 being their only win against a major Test nation since the beginning of the 2010 decade.
Batting has been the major worry for the West Indies in the last few years. None of their batsmen (min. 500 runs) average in the 40s (or above) since 2018. Jason Holder is the second-highest scorer of the unit in this time-frame – that tells you a tale or two about the state of affairs in the batting department.
Kraigg Brathwaite is their highest run-getter since 2018 with 1193 runs in 24 matches but at an average of 26.51.
The fast bowling has been impressive in parts with Shannon Gabriel leading the way with 74 wickets. His injury will be a big blow to the home team. Holder again, has the best average of 19 in this period. Kemar Roach – who has picked 214 wickets in 63 matches – will share the new ball. Possible Playing XI: 1. Kraigg Brathwaite, 2. Shai Hope, 3. Kyle Mayers, 4. Roston Chase, 5. Kieran Powell, 6. Josh Da Silva, 7. Jason Holder, 8. Alzarri Joseph, 9. Kemar Roach, 10. Rahkeem Cornwall, 11. Jayden Seales
South Africa Team News
South Africa have seen a dramatic drop in their fortunes post the retirement of their stalwarts – AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn from Test cricket. Since July 2018, they have lost as many as 5 series and won just two – the loss included a humiliating 2-0 loss in 2019 at home against Sri Lanka.
Like the West Indies, the batting has been South Africa’s biggest bane in this time-frame with none of their batsmen averaging 40 or above in the period. Quinton de Kock is their highest scorer with 1136 runs in 18 matches at an average of 35.5 post July 2018. Skipper Dean Elgar averages 33.31 in this time-frame. These two will be the batting mainstay of the team in the series.
The bowling will be led by Kagiso Rabada, who despite a massive dip in form, remains the highest wicket-taker since July 2018 with 59 wickets in 15 matches. Anrich Nortje would share the new ball and has bagged 39 wickets in his first 10 matches.With no Steyn and Philander, the bowling heavily depends on the shoulders of these two bowlers.