“I’m quite clear on the XI” – Kraigg Brathwaite ready to make ‘West Indies proud’ with inexperience squad in Australia

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite is “quite clear” on the XI he will take into the first Test against Australia next week, which will include at least three debutants, and praised his largely inexperienced team with making good use of their warm-up match in Adelaide.

The three-day clash with Cricket Australia XI saw notable contributions from the top order, with Joshua Da Silva notching a century on the final day, complemented by Kavem Hodge’s scores of 52 and 99, and Justin Greaves twice making significant runs.

The Windies bowlers showcased their prowess, dismissing the CA XI for 174 in the first innings, spearheaded by the promising Shamar Joseph, who is poised for a debut alongside seasoned campaigners Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph in the upcoming Test.

As the Caribbean side gears up for the challenge, he expressed confidence in his carefully chosen combination. The Windies’ performance in the warm-up encounter has undoubtedly boosted their morale ahead of the impending Test clash with Australia.

“[I’m] quite clear on the XI. Very happy with how all the guys went about the camp [and] went about this game. This time next week it’s about making West Indies proud,” Brathwaite said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Though Brathwaite remained discreet about the specific lineup for the impending Test against Australia, insights from the warm-up match suggest that Hodge and Greaves are likely to debut at No. 5 and 6, respectively, alongside Shamar.

Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, renowned for his 13-wicket haul against Zimbabwe a year ago, seems poised to assume the frontline spinner role, although the selectors may contemplate allrounder Kevin Sinclair’s noteworthy performance.

In the second innings, West Indies reshuffled their batting order, with Da Silva capitalizing on his opportunity with a century. Brathwaite expressed satisfaction with Hodge’s consistent contributions.

“[Da Silva] took it with both hands, the opportunity to open, and he batted for a long period which is what you want In Test cricket so that was good to see,” he said. “Very pleased with how [Hodge] showed he [could] come again in the second innings and do it. That’s what we want.”

Brathwaite (87 Tests) along with Roach (79 Tests) will have key roles to play in showing the way while Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Alzarri were also on the previous tour.

“[You can talk about] different spells you would have faced, how the pitches played, there’s a lot of information shared,” Brathwaite said. “Obviously Kemar Roach leading the young bowling attack with experience of similar, how the Kookaburra ball reacts off these types of pitches, the lengths, especially with the new ball is very important.”

West Indies also caught well during the game – something Pakistan were unable to do during their Test series, which may have cost them the Melbourne Test.

“Catching is very important, especially here in Australia,” Brathwaite said. “The pitches get quite a bit of bounce so especially the slip fielders have to be sharp. That’s something the fielding coach speaks about, [but] we’ve got to keep working hard.”

West Indies arrived in Adelaide on December 30 so have had the rare opportunity of spending two weeks in the same city to prepare for the opening Test, which this year will be a day game rather than Adelaide’s traditional day-night fixture with Brisbane instead hosting the pink-ball contest.

“Having the time to practice here in Adelaide, get accustomed to the pitches and stuff, think that was great for us,” Brathwaite said. “As a team we are very pleased. The facilities here are outstanding and the boys made good use of them.”

West Indies’ squad is missing a host of senior players including former captain Jason Holder and allrounder Kyle Mayers who opted to play in T20 leagues.

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