Cricket Sports

Reifer pacing himself even as he hopes for Test opportunity

Despite a fantastic five-wicket spell on the second day of the West Indies first warm-up match here, Raymon Reifer said he was taking his performance in stride and was not “thinking too far ahead” to whether he would be selected to play in the first Test against England next month.

The left-arm seamer ended with 5-60 off 13 overs at Old Trafford on Wednesday, including a spell after lunch when he took five wickets for just 12 runs from 11 balls. Among those was the prized wicket of the Windies skipper who led the Jason Holder XI side which is up against the Kraigg Brathwaite XI.

Speaking to the media via Zoom link at the end of play on day two of the intra-squad match, Reifer, who played his one and only Test for the West Indies in New Zealand in 2017, said the conditions were helpful to the bowlers.

“You can always give yourself a chance with the Dukes ball in England. If you’re able to get a bit of shine on it there is always some movement to be found in these conditions. If the ball is seaming around then it is favourable for me,” the 29-year-old said. “I was pretty pleased with the five wickets, I just put the ball in the right areas and it started to bite.”

“I’ve played here in England before on the last tour (2017). I didn’t play a Test match but I played a few warm-up matches so I learned a few things and used them to my advantage today,” he added.

Reifer ripped through Holder XI’s middle order out in quick time after lunch, taking the scalps of the captain, Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua da Silva, Shane Moseley and Rahkeem Cornwall.

As for his chances of being among the starting 11 for the Wisden series opener on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl, Reifer said there was still more time for him to prove himself – in the ongoing warm-up match which ends Thursday, and a second warm-up scheduled for June 29-July 2.

“It’s about working hard and putting yourself in the best position to perform for the team. It’s about putting in the performance and waiting for your opportunity,” said the cousin of West Indies batting coach Floyd Reifer.

“The ultimate dream is always to play Test cricket and to play as many Tests as possible. I made my debut three years ago and haven’t played since, so if the opportunity presents itself I’ll be looking to play.

“I’m not thinking too far ahead. We have another day in this match and potentially another chance with bat and ball then a four-day game coming up, but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s gone,” he added.

Reifer was a surprise pick for the Windies’ 25-man touring group selected for the series which is being played in a bio-secure environment, without spectators, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After their warm-up matches here, they will travel to Southampton for the July 8-12 Test before returning to Old Trafford for the second and third Tests set for July 16-20 and 24-28.

CMC

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