WEST Indies Test captain and opener Kraigg Brathwaite, who will lead an under strength regional team against Bangladesh next month, said he can’t fault the players who chose not to tour because of covid19 safety concerns.
Several new faces have made the trip to Bangladesh for the three-match One Day International (ODI) series and a two-match Test series.
The ODI series will be played from January 20 to 25, followed by the Test series from February 3 to 15.
West Indies will have two new captains as Jason Mohammed will replace Kieron Pollard as ODI captain and Brathwaite fills in for Jason Holder.
The other players opting not to tour because of covid19 are Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran. Fabian Allen and Shane Dowrich are unavailable because of personal reasons.
On Wednesday, Brathwaite spoke to journalists on Zoom about the missing players.
“Obviously guys had their own personal reasons not to come. I decided I will come and play and I look forward to it…obviously guys had reasons and you can’t fault that.”
Brathwaite, who was been the vice-captain under Holder for years, said his team is capable but he wants to lead from the front.
“Obviously it is my job as the opening batsman to get runs. Obviously I will be looking to do that (and) build the foundation for the team as I always say. The guys here I don’t see them as second string guys. I think these guys can perform and do well at the international level (and) I know they are looking forward to the opportunity.”
Brathwaite said he will speak to Holder before the Test series bowls off to get his advice.
“Me and Jas (Holder) always have a few convos. We did not speak initially regarding (the) Bangladesh tour as yet, but I always enjoy the challenge of captaining. It is not easy, but I enjoy it. For sure I will have some chats with Jason before the series starts.”
West Indies ended their mandatory quarantine on Wednesday and Brathwaite said the team will start off with a light training session on Thursday and ramp up preparations as the week progresses.
West Indies last toured Bangladesh at the end of 2018 with the home team claiming the two-match Test series 2-0.
On facing the potent Bangladesh spinners again, Brathwaite said, “As batsmen we have our plans. I would not discuss the plans as individuals we have, but as I said we reviewed even after that series and we know where we went wrong and where we could have improved and we look forward to the challenge and we have our specific plans that we will carry out.”
Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim are among the experienced players in the Bangladesh line up.
Bangladesh are not familiar with many of the West Indies players and Brathwaite said that may give the regional squad a “slight advantage.”