a fairly routine slips catch for Virat Kohli became so much more.
The West Indies will play a bunch of grade hopefuls this weekend in Geelong, as they attempt to improve their form before Boxing Day.
Ringwood Cricket Club’s Ian Holland will lead a Victorian Invitational XI with only six first-class caps between them, in a two-day tour match at Simonds Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.
The Windies, who were left reeling after last week’s innings and 212-run defeat to Australia in Hobart, would face further embarrassment and scrutiny with a poor performance.
With the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Samuel Badree suiting up in the Big Bash, commentators – including Australian great Shane Warne – have all but written the West Indies off for this summer’s series.
Their doubts were confirmed by stumps on Day 1 in Hobart, after under-pressure players Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh compiled huge centuries with ease.
Windies captain Jason Holder said it’s been tough for his team of late and a poor first day in Hobart didn’t help.
“We didn’t bowl well,” said Holder. “We didn’t string enough balls together in good areas and as a result they were scoring pretty rapidly.”
Holder said the only way they can turn it around is by good performances from his players and they will look to times past, when they picked themselves up for the second Test.
Their capitulation in Hobart led Warne to issue an SOS to Windies legend Brian Lara to help save the struggling tourists.
“Lara is in the country. They need to get him involved, spend some time with the team in Melbourne,” said Warne in commentary on Channel Nine.
A practice match against the fringe Victorian state players, however, is far from consultation with one of history’s leading run scorers.
On paper, the Victorians aren’t much competition for a Test side, but the Windies current crop lack quality.
While the match presents itself as a great opportunity for Victoria’s up-and-coming talent, a poor performance from the tourists would further dampen interest in the Boxing Day Test, which is already shaping as an uninspiring contest.
Victorian Chairman of Selectors Andrew Lynch said he’s looking forward to the young players gaining experience against an international side.
“It’s a great opportunity for these guys to show what they can do at a higher level,” Lynch told the Bushrangers’ website.
The Invitational side will feature Victorian Bushranger Holland and his two teammates, Aaron Ayre and Travis Dean. Under 19 players Blake Thomson and Sam Grimwade have also been given a chance.
Play starts at 10:30am on Saturday at Simonds Stadium.