Former West Indies fast bowler Joel 'Big Bird' Garner stormed out of the Taunton County Ground an angry man after the West Indies' seven-wicket loss to Bangladesh in their latest ICC 2019 World Cup match on Monday, saying the bowlers didn't target the wicket but the Bangladeshi batsmen.
Despite tallying 321 runs, their highest total so far in the competition, the West Indies were beaten all over the ground by Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who hit an unbeaten 124 to lead his team to a win with almost 10 overs to spare.
At the end of the game, a clearly unhappy Garner said: "These guys did not attack the wickets, they attacked the batsmen and they were able to handle the short ball and pull them away."
The West Indies pace attack, led by Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell and Andre Russell in particular, had earned some respect early on in the competition after skittling Pakistan out for just 105 in their opening game and having Australia on the ropes at 79 for five before the Aussies managed to recover and pull off a 15-run win.
But on Monday, Al Hasan weathered the Windies short bowling storm before battering the bowlers to all parts of the ground as he hit 16 fours in his unbeaten knock and combined with Liton Das, who hit a 69-ball 94 with eight fours and four sixes, to pull off an eventual easy win and revive their team's hopes of advancing to the next phase.
After also seeing the woeful bowling performance, another great West Indies fast bowler, Andy Roberts, explained that short-pitched bowling is an art and bowler must understand how to use it properly against opponents.
"You don't just run up and bowl short. You become one dimensional and the batsman will just sit back and expect it and then hit you away," said Roberts, who was part of the feared quartet that also included Garner, Michael Holding and Colin Croft in the 1970s.
Roberts himself was feared because of the fact that he could hit batsmen almost at will. However, he told Guardian Media using the short ball as a weapon was not as easy as one believes.
"You have to learn the art of using the short ball as a weapon and not as your stock ball. These guys are using the short ball as their stock ball, so the batsmen are getting used to it. You have to use it sparingly but when you do, it must be directed properly and it will bring the results."
Roberts added that the players also have to earn to adapt quickly to conditions.
"The guys must always think on their feet. In England the weather changes by the minute, so you need to get things right quickly. Sometimes it starts off as a bright sunny day and as you look around it's overcast. All these things have to be taken into account when you are bowling."
Reporter: Vinode Manchan