WEST INDIES captain Kraigg Brathwaite wants to give his coach Phil Simmons “ten solid days” in the two-Test series against Australia, which will signal the end of Simmons’ tenure as the team’s main tactician.
Simmons announced his decision to step down as coach last month, after the T20 squad’s failure to advance to the Super12 phase of the recently-concluded ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
The West Indies will face Australia from November 30 to December 4 in Perth and December 8-12 (day/night) in Adelaide.
During a zoom media briefing on Monday evening (Tuesday morning Australia time), Brathwaite said, “I thought he has done a fantastic job as a coach, in terms of certain things he brought amongst the group. It’s his last series so we’re looking to give him ten solid days of Test cricket and look to make him, and West Indies fans, proud.
“He, obviously, went through some rough times, like every cricketer would, and every team and every coach, but we look forward to his last ten days as coach,” Brathwaite added.
The WI will have a pair of warm-up games in Australia – from November 17-19 against ACT/NSW XI at Philip Oval, Canberra and November 23-26 (day/night) against the Prime Minister’s XI at Manuka Oval, Canberra.
“I think it’s very good, for us as a team, to get match practice,” said the WI skipper. “It’s always important before a Test series so, as a group, we’ve got to take every day as seriously as possible. It’s obviously geared towards the Test series.”
This will be the West Indies’ first Test series in Australia since losing 2-0 in a three-Test series in 2015-2016.
Brathwaite pointed out, “As a team, it’s not focussing on getting results. Past history shows it’s a long time since we’ve been getting wins in Australia but we’re focussing on our own goals.
“One of the big focus is we’ve got ten days of Test cricket and we want to be playing ten good solid days of Test cricket,” he added. “It’s a big focus for us, rather than focussing on the end result. We’re here against a very good team so we’ve got to prepare well.”
Tagenarine Chanderpaul is tipped to make his debut as Brathwaite’s opening partner during the Test series.
Asked about the 27-year-old Chanderpaul, whose batting style is as dogged as his skipper, Brathwaite replied, “I think the partnership will work really well. Tage is a guy that could spend a lot of time. I look forward to the partnership and I could see us doing good things together.”
Brathwaite has opened the innings with John Campbell in the team’s five Test matches this year, all at home – three against England and two against Bangladesh. But Campbell is serving a four-year ban for a doping violation.
But Brathwaite is unfazed by Campbell’s absence from the team, stating, “I would have known (Tagenarine) for a few years. I’ve never opened with him but, for me, it’s nothing that’s going to be strange.”