Windies head coach expects top-order batsmen to come good against England

By March 07, 2022

Tuesday marks the start of the three-Test Apex series between the West Indies and England. The visitors have not won a Test series in the Caribbean since their3-0 triumph in 2004, the same series in which Brian Lara scored a world record 400 not out in the fourth Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

In 2019, when the teams last met in the Caribbean, the hosts secured a 2-1 series win and West Indies head coach Phil Simmons wants his team to keep the trend alive.

“We’re looking to play the cricket that we know will put us in a position to win the series. We’re trying to make sure we’re ready for everything England can throw at us,” the Trinidadian head coach said during a pre-match press conference on Monday while indicating that it will critical for the hosts to build strong opening partnerships when they bat.

In that series, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell shared opening stands of 53, 52, 70, 17 not out, 57 and five and they will once again be entrusted with the responsibility.

“The last time we beat England here, the opening pair was Kraigg and John Campbell. Let’s hope that’s a good omen for us because they gave the team some good starts. We’ve been talking about getting a good start and making sure that the top four put things together and not leave it for the middle and lower order,” Simmons said.

“That’s been the focus of our camp leading up to this series. We need batsmen to bat long so the bowlers can have something to work with and I think the camp went well so I expect good things from them.”

The absence of James Anderson and Stuart Broad from the England team has been a big talking point ever since their squad was announced, but Simmons says he is more interested in who they do have.

“We keep harping on no Broad and Anderson but when you don’t have the experience, you have young players who are hungry to make their name and that is something that you have to guard against too. They have quality bowlers who we still have to bat well against,” he said.

Simmons also spoke about the importance of having one specialist spinner in their squad, Veerasammy Permaul.

“Your spinner, at least in the first couple of days, will always play that holding role. Permaul has been bowling really well so, hopefully, by the time we get to the fourth day he will come into play and possibly be a match-winner for us,” Simmons said.

Simmons also mentioned the conditions he expects at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

“It looks like it’s going to be a good wicket. We’re going to have to work hard for our runs but also work hard for our wickets,” he said.

At the conclusion of the Test match, the teams move on to the Kensington Oval in Barbados for the second Test set to start on March 16. The final Test is scheduled to be played at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada beginning on March 24.

 

 

 

 

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