“I believe we have the skill, all the guys have the ability”; Brathwaite wants strong start in Zimbabwe and South Africa

West Indies will tour Zimbabwe for two Test matches in February 2023. Both Tests will be played in Bulawayo – the first from February 4 to 8 and the second from February 12 to 16. Shortly afterwards, they will embark on a full tour of South Africa that includes two Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is.

The West Indies team was named last Tuesday for the Test series and several players were called back. Speaking to the media yesterday, Kraigg Brathwaite, the red ball captain of the regional team, spoke about the importance of the next two tournaments. He said,

“It will be great to start off with two series wins, giving you momentum throughout the year. The next series after South Africa is the middle of the year in July against India, so obviously it’s important to make use of these four Test matches…Starting well is really important but it won’t just come like that, saying it. Actions speak louder than words.”

The skipper said he had some discussions with the team after the loss in both the Tests against Australia in December last year.

“We know where we fell short. We have to fight through (tough spells). If we don’t, we’re going to get bowled out…it’s as simple as that. I believe we have the skill, all the guys have the ability and it’s just to put that belief when you get on that Test stage.”

Further comments Brathwaite says it will not be easy in Zimbabwe and the batsmen need to spend more time at the crease.

“Zimbabwe will not be easy at home. It’s not that we are just going to get runs against Zimbabwe because they are not number one in the world. We need to see some fight from the batsmen, myself included.”

The West Indies fast bowling department will be depleted without Jayden Seales who is in the midst of a four-month lay-off after knee surgery. However, while Brathwaite said it was “very unfortunate” to lose Gabriel, he welcomed the return to the squad of Shannon Gabriel.

Trinidad and Tobago fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican have been called up to the West Indies Test squad after more than a year’s absence, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) men’s selection committee announced on Tuesday.

Gabriel’s last Test match was against Sri Lanka in November 2021, while Warwick’s last international appearance was in Sri Lanka, in December 2021 when he played in both Test matches. According to the skipper,

“Shannon has a lot of experience. He always brings that energy into the camp. Obviously he was out (with injury) the last couple matches, so it’s great to have him back. He’s a guy that puts his all into each game plus that experience he will add (to our strength) especially in Jayden’s absence.”

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