Simmons confident of Windies’ performance ahead of 1st Test
The West Indies will be on the hunt to retain the Wisden Trophy as they clash against England in three Test Matches. The first Test match will be played at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton – July 8-12.
As such, West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons in an interview with the media shared his views on the upcoming clash.
Simmons started off by stating that Kraigg Braithwaite would be Vice Captain during the series, and noted that with the absence of Shimron Hetmyer, who bats at number three, management would be tasked with the restructuring of the batting order. This can only be done based on the two practice matches that will be played today at Emirates Old Trafford until June 25 and a four-day match at the same venue from June 29-July 2.
When asked if there were any niggles in the camp, Simmons said, “No, thank God everyone seems to be ok, the Captain seemed to have a little problem with his ankle, but that is better now. Over the years, we have seen that our bowling has been our strongest suit of our game as a Test nation. The batters have looked well on the surface and even in the nets. But when we head out to play the three- and four-days game, I think then we will be able to see.”
When asked his take on the fast bowling set-up, Simmons related that it spoke for itself as Jason Holder is the number one Test all-rounder, and Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel are high up on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings. He noted that the youngsters were eager to learn, placing special emphasis on Alzarri Joseph, who he believes would be one of the best in time to come.
On the issue of whether to use four pacers or include Rahkeem Cornwall in the line-up as the Ageas Bowl has been known to benefit spinners, Simmons said, “When we get down there for the practice matches, we will see what the condition is like. I mean this will all be determined on how the wickets play out in our two warm-ups and also looking at the test wicket as this can play different from what we are practising on.”
Simmons has said that the three-day game would be a mixed-up game of the current squad and the reserve list. However, he noted that it would not be the same for the four-day game, as the squad featured would be finer tuned along the lines of a First-Class squad.
He also relayed that the reserve players would come into the 14-man main squad if someone got injured. He said that it was more than likely for the first Test, the squad would be selected from the 15-man squad, placing special emphasis on Shannon Gabriel, who has returned from injury and has been named in the reserve squad. Gabriel has been at full tilt and has been training hard in preparation for the first Test.
The West Indies will be looking to carve out their own piece of history as they have not won a Test in England since 1988. The current Test squad reads: Jason Holder (Captain); Jermaine Blackwood; Nkrumah Bonner; Kraigg Brathwaite; Shamarh Brooks; John Campbell; Roston Chase; Rahkeem Cornwall; Shane Dowrich; Chemar Holder; Shai Hope; Alzarri Joseph; Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.
Reserve players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, and Jomel Warrican.