Julien worried over WI Test future

FORMER TT and West Indies all-rounder Bernard Julien is very worried and concerned over the future of West Indies, at the Test arena.

The West Indies fell to a 64-run defeat to Bangladesh, on the third day of the first Test at Chittagong on Saturday.

Julien, speaking during the Past Cricketers Society dinner and award ceremony at the Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair on Saturday, commented, “We’re not prepared to bat long. We need to stay in the wicket longer and we’ve got to keep batting otherwise nobody would want to play Test cricket against us. It will eventually happen if this trend continues.”

Ironically, this is the third straight Test defeat for the West Indies, all in the space of three days.

In last month’s tour of India, the West Indies lost the First Test in Rajkot by an innings and 272 runs, and the Second Test in Hyderabad by 10 wickets.

Asked if he thinks the regional players have been spoilt by their success at the T20 level, the 68-year-old Julien responded, “Yes, to an extent. With the T20 situation, this is what the crowd wants, and the sponsors. That is what’s going on.”

The former Kent all-rounder made mention of India’s captain Virat Kohli, who has been consistent in all three formats – Tests, One Day Internationals (ODI) and T20.

Julien said, “I’m not vex with that at all but if you play Test cricket first and establish yourself, then you can (transition) like Kohli, who can play all forms of the game because he mastered the Test match situation and it’s the same sort of technique (he has) in the T20s.”

Julien, who played 24 Tests and 12 ODIs from 1973-1977, served as a coach at top local club Merry Boys until stepping down a few years ago.

“I’ve not been feeling top-of-the-line,” he admitted. “I’ve been having health problems.” He declined to state what “problems” he was afflicted with.

Commenting on Saturday’s event, among his former TT and WI teammates Sir Gary Sobers, Larry Gomes, Deryck Murray and Richard Gabriel, Julien said, “It’s an awesome feeling. It’s teammates that you practically lived with. We played cricket together in the 70s and 80s through the years. We look a little bit different now.” Two moments stood out for him during his playing days. “Obviously the hundred at Lord’s with Gary Sobers,” he said, referring to his knock of 121 and Sobers’ unbeaten 150 in the 1973 series.

“And facing (Australian fast bowlers) Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson in ’75-76. I never opened in my life before. It was really fantastic, although we got beaten badly (5-1).”

He was part of the early stages of the dominant WI team.

According to Julien, “We had a great team. Those guys were fantastic. The camaraderie was good. We beat everybody for (at least) 10 years. But we haven’t seen that type of cricket and that type of consistency nowadays.” He also touched on the umpire Decision Review System (DRS).

“Technology, if you have it, use it,” he said. “Could you imagine the amount of decisions that went against the batsmen when he was not out and went for the batsmen when he out? I think it is a good thing for the sport.”