By Clifton Ross
WEST Indies middle-order batsman Shamarh Brooks came out of the England series as one of the bright stars amidst the Caribbean side’s failed attempt to capture the Wisden Trophy.
Having a mere 6 Tests under his belt at 31, the Barbados batsman was among the leading run-scorers for the West Indies, finishing in the top 10 batting charts after the 3-match series ended a few days ago.
The right-hander got off to a slow start before looking more settled as the series progressed. Failing in the first innings of the Test, Brooks rebounded with a second-innings 39, a match which the visitors won thanks mainly to their pacers.
The second match, arguably the most important of the series saw England need to rebound in order to save the series. Although Joe Root and his men pulled off a heist, Brooks almost kept things in his team’s favour with a pair of back-to-back fifties.
Brooks stroked a composed 62 with 4 fours and a pair of sixes in the first innings, making amends for his personal woes in the first game.
His second attempt to help the tourists secure the series, saw the President’s XI batsman better his first-innings score with an even more confident-looking 68 with 11 fours.
While no Windies batsman managed to make a century, Brooks was undoubtedly one of the X-factors behind his team’s semi-successful attempt to create history on English soil.
Brooks himself was keen on doing well during the tour and despite not finishing with a century, the Barbados Tridents batsman still managed to save face and keep his spot in the team due to his classy performances.
Adding to the conditions of the tour which was played during the pandemic, both sides were forced to mentally adjust to the safety guidelines and rule of social distancing.
Apart from Jermaine Blackwood who hit 95 in the first game to steer his team home, ending as the leading run-getter for his team and 4th overall in the series, it was Brooks’ pair of half-centuries which highlighted the tour for West Indies.
His ability to quickly adapt to conditions while batting with intent to score but play the anchor role between the top and lower-order is enough to justify him sealing either the 4th or 5th spot in the Windies batting line-up.
More importantly, Brooks’ current form is good for his fellow countrymen in the Test team like Roston Chase, Kraigg Brathwaite and especially Shai Hope who had a horrid tour of England.
Looking ahead to the next assignment for the Caribbean side, it will be interesting to see what role Brooks will play as a batsman and possibly one of the new-found leaders in the batting department.