Windies skipper: 'We need everything' vs England in Test opener

West Indies cricket captain Kraigg Brathwaite . -
West Indies cricket captain Kraigg Brathwaite . -

West Indies’ memorable Test match win over Australia at the Gabba in January is now “history” and the team has shifted all focus to the equally demanding three-match Test series against hosts England, which bowls off at Lord’s Cricket Ground on July 9, at 6 am (TT time).

Skipper Kraigg Brathwaite believes his young squad needs to deliver an all-round performance against the Three Lions if they are to gain an early advantage at the London venue.

“We need everything, catches to be caught, 20 wickets to win a Test match, and we got to put runs on the board. All-round consistency and performance throughout the series is what’s important,” Brathwaite said.

He added that the Australia victory, which saw the Windies draw the two-match tie 1-1, has brought added confidence and belief to the group, but they must remain focused on the task at hand.

“It was a big positive for us to get a win (vs Aussies), because it shows that we can get the job done. The key for us as a group is to be consistent and we can take a lot of stuff from that game both as batsmen, because we had some guys doing well in that game with the bat, some important partnerships, and then with the ball we were outstanding.

“Shamar Joseph (7/68 in second Test) was the star, but all the bowlers put in a very good effort and we caught well.

But, he said, "It's history is gone. We got to look forward to this first Test and then the other. But it at least gives us that cue that we can get the job done, and we just have to believe in ourselves.”

He also confirmed the 11-man squad, which includes Test debutant and fellow opening batsman Mikyle Louis of St Kitts, the first player from that island to make a West Indies team.

He named Kirk McKenzie in at three, followed by Alick Athanaze and Kavem Hodge for a total five batsmen. In at six is all-rounder Holder, then wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva, spinner Gudakesh Motie and fast bowlers Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph and Joseph (S) respectively.

Brathwait, Holder and Joseph are the only West Indians to have previously played at Lord’s, but the skipper is confident his troops can deliver meaningful performances at the historic venue.

“They’re young and exciting. McKenzie got a few 50s in Australia, which was good. Hodge got a nice 80-odd as well in Australia. Athanaze, I have confidence in him to do it.

"Every batter has a different style and one thing we urge is for guys to have their plans and bat their style.

“Over the years my general style is taking my time, and that’s me. We urge all our batters to bat their game and plan. We focus on ourselves,” Brathwaite said.

England also feature two debutants in wicketkeeper Jamie Smith and pacer Gus Atkinson, while veteran fast bowler James Anderson is set to retire after the series.

The Windies skipper hailed his team as “decent” and believes this series serves as not only a platform to showcase upcoming talent, but also as a learning experience in pursuit of precious Test match victories.

“Showing fight is very important and very crucial for us as a group,” Brathwaite added. “Batting a whole day is always a positive, and big partnerships, those little key points are very important. Once we can do that it sets up a Test match in a positive way, to look for Test-match wins.

“It’s a young group, especially the batsman, so they have a lot of time to learn because obviously when you’re playing Test cricket it takes a while to understand and you’re always learning on the job.”

Ben Stokes also returns to the England set-up after recently recovering from knee injury.

WI team vs England (Test 1 of 3)

Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Alzarri Joseph (vice-captain), Mickyle Louis (debut), Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva (wicketkeeper), Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Shamar Joseph.


"Windies skipper: ‘We need everything’ vs England in Test opener"

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