“We’ve been working hard predominantly against spin,” says Simmons
…team will capitalise on every opportunity given
Ahead of the first Test match which is slated to commence today at 11:30 pm, West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons was able to shed light on the possible selection of the final XI heading into the first Test and what he expected from them when they took to the field.
It has been seen that throughout the One-Day International (ODI) series, West Indies had a major problem facing spin bowling, as the Bangladeshis rattled the Caribbean side’s batting line-up. However, in the warm-up match, the side showed much improvement in their tactics towards spin and showed much fight in the bowling department, as Rahkeem Cornwall stood out with a fifer.
When asked his view on what the team have been doing as they prepare to face some of Bangladesh’s best spinners, Simmons said, “We’ve been working predominantly on playing spin – using your feet, using the crease, whichever one suits the particular batsman. So, we’ve just been working a lot on all the disciplines of playing spin.”
Simmons also made comments on Guyana’s very own Veerasammy Permaul, who many believe stands a great chance in securing a spot in the final XI with his crafty off-spin. “Everybody that is here is here is close, we won’t say that nobody is closer than the other. I think he has bowled well since he is here, he has worked hard and so does everyone in the squad. But he does work hard and he is up for selection and everyone is fit and raring to go and maybe tomorrow we will decide on what the final XI is,” Simmons opined.
The Windies Head Coach also went on to discuss Cornwall and Jomel Warrican, whom he credited for adjusting to the wickets as they are not the same as in the Caribbean. He further noted that he was expecting that the fast bowlers would play their roles in the team. While the Windies fast bowlers were not so successful on the pitches in Bangladesh, Simmons did reiterate that it is just about adjusting your line and lengths on the pitch and knowing what to bowl as everyone has a role to play in the team.
According to Simmons, the West Indies unit are unlikely to have an edge against their opponents on home turf. While the Caribbean side would have match fitness as they played England and New Zealand during the pandemic as compared to Bangladesh who have not played a Test in almost a year, Simmons was adamant that while Bangladesh are a good team, they are particularly hard to beat on their home surface despite not playing for a lengthy period of time. He urged the players to develop an improved attitude towards spin as this would be beneficial towards them spending longer hours at the crease and making more runs as seen in the warm-up match. Simmons went on to state that the West Indies would look to capitalise on Bangladesh’s lack of Test match play and while he believes that vulnerability would not last long, he noted that the team would try their best to pounce on every opportunity.
Asked what role Warrican is expected to play in the Test as he played a supporting role to Cornwall during the warm-up, Simmons responded, “He will play whatever role comes in the game if he is selected. All the bowlers will have to play their role based on the situation they are in and also what the Captain wants them to do at that given point in the game. In the end, they all have to be available to do what the Captain wants them to do at that given time.”
The West Indies will be optimistic of bagging the Test series to make up for their horrid performance in the ODI series. To date, they have a successful record against Bangladesh in the Test arena; from 2002 to 2018/2019, the two teams have played a total of eight Test series, with the Caribbean side winning six and Bangladesh two.