Everybody wants to do well: Coley pleased with WI build-up to two-Test series Down Under

By January 09, 2024
Andre Coley Andre Coley

West Indies Test head coach Andre Coley says they will be using the opening practice match on their tour of Australia to tighten up in both the batting and bowling departments, as they brace for what will be a tough two-match Test Series Down Under.

The Caribbean side’s preparations for the series, which is part of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), will hit another gear when they engage a young Cricket Australia XI in a three-day, practice match at Karen Rolton Oval, on Wednesday.

Coley, working with a fairly inexperienced 15-man squad which boast seven uncapped players, expressed pleasure with how things are coming together, and is optimistic that his team can find success on this occasion. It has been well over 20 years since West Indies las won a Test series in Australia dating back to a 1992-93 series, which they won 2-1.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite is one of only five members of the squad returning to Australia, along with long-standing pacer Kemar Roach, vice-captain Alzarri Joseph, wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva and opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul. The seven debutants are opener Zachary McCaskie, Tevin Imlach, all-rounders Justin Greaves, Kavem Hodge, Kevin Sinclair, Akeem Jordan and Shamar Joseph.

“Everybody wants to do well here, whether they have had experience of playing here in the past, or it is their first trip. It has been a good experience watching them get over the jetlag and then get into the work, whatever it has been on a specific day, and the focus has been good,” Coley shared in a Cricket West Indies (CWI) interview ahead of the warm-up game.

The practice match does not have first-class status, which means both teams can rotate more than 11 players through their line-ups, and this provides Coley the opportunity to better observe the new players in action.

“When you think about Test matches, it’s really important that you are able to bat a day to be able to set up the game from a batting standpoint. On the flipside of that it’s pretty simple for me, if you can get the opposition out before the end of a day’s play, so for me, those are easy markers,” he said.

“How we go about it as a batting and bowling group is where it becomes more specific as it relates to the roles and the different skill sets that each player brings to the table. But we are looking to keep it really, really simple, and these are some of the markers that we are looking to get out of the game,” Coley added.

That said, Coley pointed to the progress made in their build up to the Test match. The first Test is scheduled for January 17 in Adelaide, with the second set to take place on January 25 at The Gabba.

“I am happy with the progress we have made. It has been a gradual adjustment (to the conditions), but at the end of the day, regardless of how the pitch plays and what response we get from the pitch when bowling, each player has to adapt to what is in front of him,” Coley declared.

He continued: “Sometimes the pitch has little to do with it, as opposed to being locked in to what is in front of you. I think we have covered that pretty well in the batting, and similarly, adjusting to bowling lengths and what we want to achieve.

“The ability to hit specific areas has been good, as well as getting a general feel for how the ball moves around in the atmosphere from a fielding standpoint, we have been able to spend some time on that.”

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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