Tweakers who could turn things in the Caribbean

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Of course it all stems from the men’s and women’s teams’ recent World T20 title-winning success in India, in addition to the Windies capturing the ICC Under-19 World Cup earlier this year.

This triple success has allowed the people of the islands to be connected once more with arguably the only thing that brings them together. For a brief period, they have been able to forget about the player-administration feuds which have almost crippled a sport that is engraved into the history of the region.

The timing of the upcoming one-day international Tri-Series between the Windies, Australia (the current ODI world champions) and South Africa (ranked No 3 on the ICC ODI rankings) could not be better. The ODI format may not be the hosts’ strongest suit, but playing in front of their passionate local supporters in familiar conditions will be of great benefit.

The conditions, particularly, will assist the Windies as the pitches in the Caribbean are no longer the “mambas” which allowed their speedsters of yesteryear to wreck havoc.

Instead, the majority of the pitches across the venues will favour the slower bowlers and spinners. The South African selectors have certainly set their stall for such conditions with the inclusion of three specialist spinners for the series - a tactic that is normally reserved for tours to the subcontinent.

So with spin set to dominate the triangular competition, we look at three tweakers who could potentially turn matters in favour of their respective teams…

WEST INDIES: Sunil Narine

The last few years have been tough for the Trinidad and Tobago “mystery” spinner since first being reported for a suspect action during the 2014 Champions League T20. He has since conducted various rehabilitation exercises to ensure his action could be given the green light by the ICC.

Narine, who withdrew from the 2015 ODI World Cup as well as this year’s World T20, was finally cleared just two days before this season’s IPL, where he turned out for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Armed with a new action, the 28-year-old initially struggled to find the form that made him such a devastating force. But with the support of his Kolkata teammates - specifically veteran Australian spinner Brad Hogg - Narine 2.0 has slowly started to find his groove again.

The Tri-Series will be a perfect opportunity to see if Narine can build on this success, especially with the added glare and pressures of international cricket.

SOUTH AFRICA: Tabraiz Shamsi

The Proteas have not had a chinaman bowler since the unorthodox Paul Adams, so coach Russell Domingo and captain AB de Villiers will be hoping Shamsi brings a similar amount of “X-factor” to South Africa’s attack.

The Titans left-arm leg-spinner, though, will have to bide his time in the spinning queue behind the established pair of Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso. But when he eventually does make his international debut - judging by Domingo’s comments prior to the team’s departure - the 26-year-old will certainly be ready for the big occasion.

Shamsi will also be familiar with the venues and conditions - Warner Park in St Kitts in particular - after enjoying a very successful campaign for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in last season’s Caribbean Premier League.

Rubbing shoulders with superstar teammates Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and De Villiers at the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL should also prepare him for his international bow.

Shamsi is busy working on a host of variations like the flipper and slider, but he knows that “too many tricks” is not what earned him a first Proteas call-up, and that sticking to the basics of accurately delivering his chinaman will be of more benefit.

AUSTRALIA: Adam Zampa

The Australians have not been this excited about a spinner since a pot-bellied, bleach blonde Shane Warne arrived on the international scene almost three decades ago. Zampa has certainly molded his action on the great leg-spinner as his movement towards the crease is almost a copy of “Warnie”.

At 24 years old and having played just two ODIs and six T20s, Zampa is still learning his trade. However, he does seem to have all the tools to forge a successful career with a straight ball and variations of pace added to his stock delivery.

His deliveries have already proved to be rather difficult to pick out in T20 cricket after recording record-breaking figures of 6/19 for the Rising Pune Supergiants in the IPL He was also one of the few Aussies to emerge from first-round World T20 elimination with his reputation enhanced.

The Aussies are still working out whether their best ODI combination includes a specialist spinner, especially having discarded the tactic during their successful run to the World Cup title on home soil last year. However, in vastly different conditions, this Tri-Series could see Zampa lay down a marker for the future.

TRI-SERIES FIXTURES

Friday, June 3

West Indies v South Africa, Providence Stadium, Guyana, 7pm (SA time)

Sunday, June 5

West Indies v Australia, Providence Stadium, Guyana, 7pm

Tuesday, June 7

Australia v South Africa, Providence Stadium, Guyana, 7pm

Saturday, June 11

Australia v South Africa, Warner Park, St Kitts, 7pm

Monday, June 13

West Indies v Australia, Warner Park, St Kitts, 7pm

Wednesday, Jun 15

West Indies v South Africa, Warner Park, St Kitts, 7pm

Sunday, June 19

Australia v South Africa, Kensington Oval, Barbados

Tuesday, June 21

West Indies v Australia, Kensington Oval, Barbados

Friday, June 24

West Indies v South Africa, Kensington Oval, Barbados

Final, June 26

TBC v TBC, Kensington Oval, Barbados

Weekend Argus

The timing of the upcoming one-day international Tri-Series between the Windies, Australia and South Africa could not be better, writes Zaahier Adams.

Original source: Tweakers who could turn things in the Caribbean

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