West Indies head coach Phil Simmons announced a few days ago that he will step down from all West Indies duties after the upcoming Australia Test series.
The main reasons for his resignation were the elimination of the regional team from the preliminary round of the recently concluded Twenty20 World Cup. Speaking to the media yesterday ahead of his team’s opening practice match on the tour of Australia, skipper Brathwaite praised Simmons’ work with the red ball team.
“He’s done a fantastic job as the coach in terms of certain things he brought to the group. The West Indies captain also had a wish for the outgoing Simmons. It’s his last series, so we looking to give him ten solid days of Test cricket and to make him and West Indies fans proud.”
Also, the West Indies team quickly withdrew from the World Twenty20 tournament held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in 2021, and the team’s growth in limited-overs matches was not seen. However, Brathwaite insisted yesterday that Simmons had done a valuable job as a coach.
“I think he did a fantastic job as a coach. He obviously went through some tough times, like every coach but we look forward to his last ten days as a coach and as a team, we look to gel together and make the Caribbean proud.”
West Indies opener John Campbell has been handed a four-year ban for an anti-doping offense, and Tajernin Chanderpaul is likely to get a Test debut. Brathwaite said he has no qualms about moving into the middle with new opening partner Tajenerin Chandrapaul, playing in his first international series.
“I’ve seen him play first-class for a little while; always impressed with the time he spent… I could see us doing good things together… I think everything is gonna be good, everything is gonna be smooth. I really look forward to the combination of me and him batting together.”
When asked about this tour, which comes after the failure of the T20 squad, Brathwaite said that Tests are a completely different format and that he is under no pressure for this assignment as he has played well this year.
“This is a completely different format. We’ve had a good year thus far playing Test cricket and we focus our energies on playing good Test cricket… We know what we have to do in terms of preparation and that’s what we are focussing our energies on.”
“I think I am at a stage now where I understand my game to (an) even better level, and getting my balance in order really helped me to find the gaps even better, getting into good positions for good balls. You’re going to get a lot of good balls in Test cricket and it’s just (about) how you keep them out. Getting into those good positions really helped me navigate those good balls and placing a lot of balls in the gaps.”
“We know the bowlers we are going to play against, we know the batsmen. I think from now it’s just to create that plan in terms of a mindset how we want to go about playing against these guys. So we will use these two games to do just that.”
West Indies face the ACT New South Wales XI in Canberra in a three-day, warm-up match, starting today night T&T time. They will pay for their second and final warm-up next week, also in Canberra. However, that will be a day/night fixture. The first Test is scheduled for Perth on November 29.
West Indies squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (C), Jermaine Blackwood (Vc), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Anderson Phillip, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Devon Thomas