West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has asked his batsmen to step up strongly to support their bowling unit in the next month’s three-match Test series against England starting next month amidst Coronavirus pandemic.
He urged his team to get out of their system to start playing their cricket only after the first match, as well as, called his batsmen to start strongly in order to put up challenging totals to help their impressive pace attack to defend, as West Indies are gearing up for their first Test series win in England since 1998.
With Jason Holder and his boys stepping up their preparations for the Test series with an informal three-day game between squad members starting on Tuesday (June 23), the head coach has stressed on the need to continue working on the team’s skills to challenge the hosts.
Simmons said: “We've had occasions when we've toured and only after the first game, we start really playing cricket so it's something we're trying to get out of our system and make sure we're ready to go when we get to Southampton. Most of the senior batsmen are seasoned players. Mentally, I think they're tough. I just think we need to continue working on our skills.”
The coach is also excited to see a mouthwatering clash between the two top-ranked all-rounders in Test cricket -- West Indies skipper Holder and England vice-captain Ben Stokes in the upcoming series.
Former West Indian batsman further added, “The rivalry is always there because I think Ben is the type of person who wants to be number one and Jason is up there. They're competitive in all aspects so I think that rivalry is going to be huge for this series.”
Simmons also revealed that West Indians will support the Black Lives Matter movement in England. He added, “We definitely are thinking about things we can do to show our solidarity for the movement.”
The head coach also revealed that he had experienced racism in league cricket in England. Simmons signed off by saying, “I have encountered it in the leagues. It's not a nice thing to face, especially in the leagues where you are by yourself sometimes. It affected my wife when I was up there.”
Noteworthy, all three matches of the Test series will be played in a bio-secure environment and behind closed doors, beginning July 8 at Southampton – which will mark the resumption of international cricket which was suspended since mid-March due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
(With AFP Inputs)