Former West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray said young West Indies fast bowler Jaden Seals’ workload needs to be managed properly and he should stay away from franchise T20 cricket at this stage of his career.
It was announced last Tuesday that 21-year-old Seals, will be sidelined for at least four months as he recovers from a torn left knee (meniscus).
Seals has quickly become a key weapon for West Indies in Test cricket. He has taken 37 wickets in 10 Test matches.
“Jayden Seales has to be managed better. He has been managed really well up until the Under-19 level, but it is harder as an international fast bowler because he is not yet fully developed physically.”
Seals has represented Sri Lanka’s LPL and Caribbean Premier League, as well as franchise Twenty20 cricket worldwide, as well as all formats of the regional team over the past year.
Gray was of the opinion that he should play four-day regional cricket, Test cricket, and county cricket instead of playing franchise T20 cricket during this period.
“Jayden Seales needs to work on strengthening his body. He has to be managed in the right way. At this stage of his life, he should be playing four-day regional cricket, Test cricket and County cricket. I would like to see him not play franchise T20 cricket because it destroys his potency as a fast bowler because he tries so many different things.”
He has spent the last three years representing Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL. In addition, Seals managed to take 15 wickets in seven matches for the Jaffna Kings franchise in the Ceylon Premier League last year.
Seals had problems with his knee during the CPL last September. Gray says he has a big, strong look, but remember he’s only 21 years old.
“He might look big and strong, but remember he is 21 years old and the stressors are greater when you are playing international cricket.”
“When you go on tour (there are) not enough practice games to play. Prior to touring more practice games should be played in the Caribbean because there are insufficient matches to get accustomed to the rigours of (Test match) fast bowling.”
“There is not enough time for fast bowlers between Test matches to recuperate including young Seales.”
Gray is a level three trainer and level three assessor so he is qualified to train. He believes coaches should manage all fast bowlers differently depending on what stage of their career and their injury history.
“The coaches of fast bowlers need to have a log on different things. A history on their injuries, a history on their successes, a history on their failures, why this is happening, and the reasons why this has occurred.”
he said the West Indies bowlers would have to “work extra hard” to bowl fast to get wickets because of the slow wickets in the Caribbean.
Gray also commented on West Indies fast bowlers including Kemar Roach, Alsari Joseph, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder.
He said the 34-year-old Roach can’t rest too much but must watch his workload to prolong his career as much as possible.“You don’t rest totally because if you rest totally then when you have to extend yourself in a Test match it’s going to be a huge problem. You are going to break down because the body is not well prepared.”
Also, 26-year-old Joseph, who has been the most successful fast bowler for the regional team in recent times, is developing smoothly, Gray said.
“He is stronger now after those injuries…he is much fitter and he can take the workload. His mechanics (when bowling) are much better now so he is not rocking all over the place. He is stable.”
Jason Holder, 31, has been one of West Indies’ most prolific all-rounders in recent times across all formats, and Holder was rested in the final practice match against the Prime Minister’s XI ahead of the opening Test against Australia at the end of November.
However, Gray was not happy with the decision.
“If you are a rhythm bowler you need work…what you need is active preparation and then active recuperation. Even when you play the warm-up games prior to the Test matches there has to be effort and intensity to simulate the type of effort that a fast bowler would put in a Test match.”
The former fast bowler said of the 34-year-old Gabriel, the most experienced bowler in the current regional squad.
“I believe that some fast bowlers are genetically predisposed to injury and it does not matter how hard they work injuries will occur from time to time and Gabriel is one of these fast bowlers.”
Gray commended Gabriel for working “extremely hard” on his fitness.