Cricket Sports

Simmons urges batsmen to go big at Old Trafford

Head coach Phil Simmons said Tuesday he wanted to see more hundreds from West Indies batsmen as the Caribbean side looked to further improve on their performance in the all-important second Test starting on Thursday.

Pointing to several starts in the opening Test in Southampton, Simmons contended that if one player had carried on to triple figures, it would have allowed West Indies to take an earlier stranglehold on the contest.

Opener Kraigg Brathwaite (65) and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich (61) gathered half-centuries in the West Indies first innings of 318 while Roston Chase (47) and Shamarh Brooks (39) chipped in but none could convert their knocks into centuries.

“I think definitely the fact that we had two guys getting 60s and a couple other guys getting 40s and not going on to score hundreds [is an area that can be improved],” Simmons told reporters.

“I like to see hundreds on my scorecard at the end of an inning and that is something we have to improve on because if one of the guys who scored 60 had gone on to score a hundred, the game could’ve been easier at the end of us.

“We’ve got to make sure that batsmen score big hundreds and take games away from the opposition.”

West Indies will be bidding for their first series win in England in 32 years when they clash with the hosts in the second Test of the “bio-secure” series at Old Trafford.

They played superbly to pull off a four-wicket victory in the opening Test after chasing down a tricky 200 on Sunday’s final day, and now stand on the brink of a series success for the first time since Vivian Richards’ star-studded side swept England 4-0 in 1988.

Despite the win in Southampton, Simmons said his side were remaining grounded, and would not slacken off the intensity in their preparation and focus.

“We will guard against complacency by just trying to do the things we did before the first Test, trying to put all the measures into place,” Simmons said.

“It’s one Test match. We’ve won a Test match. Right now that Test match is history. We’ve got to be thinking about Thursday and what we do from Thursday to Sunday.”

He continued: “It’s important to look back at the Test match that’s just gone and see what areas you can improve on. It’s a different environment, it’s a different surrounding, different wicket but there are always things you can improve on.

“As I said before, no batsman has scored a hundred so our batsmen have got to look to score a hundred. [The bowlers had] one five-wicket haul in each innings, let’s see if we can get two in one innings so you start looking at how to improve what you did and don’t just settle on what you did [before].

West Indies currently hold the Wisden Trophy following their 2-1 series win in the Caribbean last year but were tagged as underdogs for the ongoing series, due to their recent lack of success here and England’s record in home conditions.

But Simmons said the fact the Caribbean side arrived early for the series, spent a month in preparation and travelled with an expanded 25-man contingent owing to the COVID-19 regulations, had been a major factor behind the performance in the opening Test.

“I think that has been the biggest influence on the performance. I think the fact that we have been here for that period of time, we’ve had quality bowling in the net because we’ve had 11 seamers here,” he pointed out.

“You can’t put a price on that. I think that’s something we have to look at because I remember [in the past] we would come to England and play something like three or four proper warm-up games even before the first Test and then we would three-day games and four-day games in between Test matches so I think that period of training that we’ve had here [went] a long way to how we performed in that first Test.”

CMC

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