WEST INDIES (WI) coach Phil Simmons has placed added emphasis on elevating the squad’s batting and bowling consistency ahead of the New Zealand tour.
The team get their competitive campaign underway against a New Zealand “A” team with two practice matches (one three-day and one four-day) on November 19 and 25 at Queenstown.
The first of three T20s bowls off, in Auckland, on November 27 while the remainder gets underway on November 28 and 30 at Mount Maunganui. WI then complete their final tour of 2020 with a two-Test series in Hamilton (December 2) and in Wellington (December 11).
The regional squad has been training in a bio-secure bubble in New Zealand for the past week and is gearing up for a highly anticipated clash against the Kiwis.
Speaking to Cricket West Indies (CWI) media during a training session, on Monday, Simmons said he has placed primary focus on increasing the team’s competitive flexibility.
“I think the big areas are consistency, especially in the bowling and understanding situations especially in the batting. We’ve had situations where we’re in control of games and people give away their wickets. Things like that are the main things we’re concentrating on right now,” he said.
Both the WI T20 and Test teams train concurrently. According to Simmons, the players are doing what’s necessary and working hard to make sure the team is well-equipped ahead of their opening match.
“They’re coming together as a unit and that’s been great. A few of the days have been cold but most of it has been nice and warm. When it is warm the West Indies team tends to thrive so they’ve been very good and have been enjoying it,” he added.
Simmons believes both reserve team players will benefit from the tour experience with the senior squad. Being a part of the WI tour and seeing what it’s like to train with the team serves as a critical learning experience for them, according to the WI coach.
The former WI cricketer is also undisturbed that some of the T20 players would be completing their mandatory quarantine period on November 26, just one day prior to the start of the three-match series.
Additionally, he called on WI fans to continue supporting the team as they are intent on making the Caribbean proud, especially during the pandemic
“I think with them (T20 players) practising and getting good facilities like we know there is here, to practice, I think everything would be ready (for the series). To the fans, continue rallying behind us because we’re working hard to try and bring joy and a smile on everyone’s face from the Caribbean and Caribbean people around the world. Keep backing us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bajan Sharmarh Brooks has welcomed the competitive challenge.
“New Zealand is a tough team to beat at home. We’re definitely looking forward to the challenge. We’re a unified unit and we’re basically going out there to play good cricket and make the region proud,” he said.