Fri | Mar 24, 2023

Mentality under the microscope, laments Brathwaite

Published:Monday | March 13, 2023 | 1:10 AM
Kraigg Brathwaite.
Kraigg Brathwaite.


West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has questioned his side’s mentality after they crashed to a heavy 284-run defeat inside four days of the decisive second Test against South Africa.

The Caribbean side dismissed the hosts for 321 in their second innings on Saturday, but then crumbled spectacularly for 106, after being set an improbable target of 391 at the Wanderers.

Wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva top-scored with 34, but was the only player to pass 20 and one of only three inside the top-eight to reach double figures.

“It’s only mental,” said a solemn-faced Brathwaite, moments after the batting capitulation.

“I think technically yes, we can work on the flaws. So the thing is, you can work on your weaknesses, you can work on your strengths, but your mind has to be in the right place.

“Test cricket is always a grind. You field a lot of overs and then as a batsman you go out and obviously face world-class bowling. It will never be easy, but I think that belief has to come within.”

He continued, “We can say it, I can say it, the coach can say it, but when we get out there on the crease we’ve got to do it.

“We’ve done it before. It’s not to say we haven’t done it. We’ve done well against England at home and in England.

“Against Australia we didn’t get the runs that we would like and coming here again. [Against] Zimbabwe we did well, but that’s different opposition. I think when we’re [up] against the top bowlers in the world, we’ve got to show that we’re top batsmen and we haven’t done that.”

Only two batsmen managed over 100 runs in the series, vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood with 126, and all-rounder Jason Holder with 116. They were two of only three batsmen with half-centuries, the other being all-rounder Raymon Reifer.

Kyle Mayers (54), Roston Chase (50) and Brathwaite (46) all struggled throughout the series leaving the backbone of West Indies’ batting missing.

Brathwaite said while it was encouraging to see his bowlers take 20 wickets in each Test, the obvious issue remained the lack of run-scoring.

“Looking back, the bowlers got 40 wickets in the series,” Brathwaite pointed out.

“That’s a good accomplishment coming back from Australia. [There were] two questionable first innings. We didn’t start as good as we should [have] – we gave them over a hundred runs in the first session both times.

“Batting-wise we weren’t good enough. We didn’t score enough runs – as simple as that. It was obviously a very good attack and once again away from home, we haven’t scored the runs.”

He added, “I still think we’re making some good steps. Looking at the first Test, we were in some good positions. Batting-wise we were 150 for three [in the first innings]. Obviously then we crumbled to just over 200.

“Bowling-wise, as I said, [there were] positives … but I still think that at some crucial times we went too expensive.

“I would say it is improvement from Australia – a big improvement – but batting-wise, we simply weren’t good enough and we’ve got to be good enough. We’ve got to be good enough.”

West Indies lost the opening Test at Centurion by 87 runs inside three days.