Corey Collymore: India tour a learning curve for WI bowlers

West Indies bowlers were made to look ordinary by a strong Indian batting line-up which piled on 649/9 dec. in the first innings of the first Test.

Devendra Bishoo and his team-mates celebrate the wicket of R. Ashwin on day two of the first Test.   -  AP

Not much has changed for the West Indies, five years after an ignominious Test series defeat to India back in November 2013. On that occasion, India was able to give a fitting, albeit an emotional, farewell to its favourite cricketing son, Sachin Tendulkar, with a clean sweep against a Darren Sammy-led West Indies.

Now, under the captaincy of Jason Holder, West Indies is in danger of being blown away again, by a much stronger and well-rounded Indian team. Its bowling has lacked penetration and the batting, which had fired in the two home series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh recently, has also been a letdown.

After the second day's play in Rajkot, Corey Collymore, the West Indies bowling coach, was in the firing line of tough questions.

Excerpts...

What went wrong? 

Well, India bat long. Also, we have a very inexperienced bowling line-up. Losing our captain on the first day and also, Kemar Roach going back home was a big loss for us. Young Sherman Lewis and Keemo Paul, one making his debut and the other playing only his second Test, definitely a big loss.   

Field placements too defensive? 

I wouldn't say too defensive. If you look at the score, India were always scoring at five runs an over. And again, with an inexperienced bowling attack, you had to go on the defensive and try to stop them from scoring too quickly. 

Frequent bowling changes?

It goes back to yesterday. Yesterday was a very hard day. You have to realise again with two young gentlemen - one making debut and the other playing his second Test match - they found it difficult with conditions, playing first time in India. I think the sub-continent is a hard place for any fast bowler, even with experience. I think that's the reason the captain had to rotate them a bit more today, to still give them a little bit of a chance. They were still feeling the effects from yesterday.

Learnings for bowlers?

Yes, definitely it's a learning curve. Again, coming to sub-continent, coming to India against the No. 1 team, one of the best, if not the best, batting line-ups in the world, it wasn't easy for them. No, not making excuses but we as a bowling unit realise that we still did not bowl as well as we could have or should have. Yesterday we bowled a bit too wide and bit too short and we gave them too many boundary scoring opportunities. That's something we took on board and I think today was an improvement. Even in the middle period yesterday, I thought there was a bit of improvement. But first or second Test, it's always going to be difficult. Going forward, that's something that they will take on board and hopefully will help them in their career.

Do you see WI competing in the series?

We certainly haven't come down to compete. As a group, we have come here to win, doesn't matter if you are No. 1 or No. 8, so yes, that's what we are here to do. Can WI save the match? Again, I always see it that way but you have to be honest with yourself. India is in the ascendancy and it's only Day Two, already seriously behind the eight-ball, so it's gonna take a mammoth effort for us to pull it back. But again, you don't come to Test match cricket to just surrender.

Learning from Indian bowlers?

From a bowling point of view, I stressed to the bowlers to have a look and see how well the Indians started. That's something I was talking out, our starts. If you look at yesterday, we started too wide and too short. Shermon was on his debut and he is a good lad, I saw him in the U-19s and in some of the practice games and he has got a fantastic record, but to me, it's still gonna be 22 yards and the lengths don't change. You have to be better at doing that going forward if you have to play Test match cricket better.

Shot selection?

What I saw, it's not what you want, especially from your top order, chasing 600-plus. These things happen in cricket, but again I hope our guys definitely learn from it. We can see how well the Indians played, they are accustomed to conditions but there's experience and things we can learn from.

Where did the game step away?

I think for me it was yesterday and not today. The way we started off gave them the momentum and the game slipped away. They got a fantastic start. Except for that middle period, we didn't create any pressure to sustain over a period of time. I must commend how the young guys came back and Shannon really leading from the front, so that's something I can really take heart from.