West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has backed mercurial talent Shimron Hetmyer to eventually find his way back into the Test team after an extended absence.

Despite being considered one of the team’s brightest talents, and having appeared in all formats, Hetmyer has not suited up for the Test team since 2019, against Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old, who made his debut against India in 2016, has struggled for consistency, scoring five 50s in 15 matches with a high score of 93, but with several other innings where he has not delivered.  Despite obvious potential, his overall average of 28 falls on the mediocre side.

In addition, the athlete has also had his share fair of fitness issues over the past two years, twice failing fitness standards after being included in touring squads.  Simmons has, however, backed the batsman to eventually get things right.

“I think that Hetmyer can be a world-class Test player when that time comes,” Simmons told members of the media.

“I’m sure at some point he’s going to return to the Test squad.  I’m sure the experience he’s gotten from being there before will serve him well and that he will make use of it.  I think he is maturing as we go along.  He’s had a few incidents he’s not proud of, but he’s maturing and I’m sure he will get back into the Test squad at some point in time and show what he’s made of.”

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes it may be too early to assess the full impact of a crushing defeat at the hands of South Africa in the recently concluded Test series.

Things looked to be on the up for the regional squad following solid performances away to Bangladesh and at home to Sri Lanka, which had even led to the team moving up the Test team rankings table.

However, the West Indies could hardly find a foothold in the series against the visiting South Africans.  They failed to reach the 200 runs in any innings of the two Test matches and were bowled out for 97 in the first innings of the Test match.

The coach will be hoping the performance is more of an aberration than an erosion of the progress made in recent months.

“It has been a setback.  You don’t know how big a setback until we do our remedying and come up against Pakistan,” Simmons told members of the media.

“At the same time, we keep making sure that sometimes you have two steps forward and one step back in progress.  So, it is a little setback we will know how big a setback with the Pakistan series.”

The West Indies will play against a visiting Pakistan in a two-Test series in August.

 

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has insisted the team’s lack of productive opening partnerships continues to be a major concern.

While poor all-around batting display was the order of the day in a lopsided loss against South Africa in the first Test, the West Indies, as has become customary, had another slow start at the top of the innings.

The opening pair of captain Kraigg Brathwaite and recently recalled Shai Hope only managed to put 30 on the board in the first innings, with Brathwaite then partnering with another recalled batsman, Kieran Powell, to combine for 21 in the second innings.

Prior to this series, however, Brathwaite and opening partner John Campbell has had an average stuck at around the 22 mark for the last several series played.  Campbell has been ruled out of the current series with an injury.

On the back of the lopsided defeat to South Africa, Simmons insists it is an area the team is desperate to fix.

“It’s one of the things we have been desperately trying to work on because if you look back, a lot of times when we win Test matches against top teams, we have good opening stands,” Simmons recently told members of the media.

“It’s disappointing because when you look at the last 7 Test 100s scored by an opener, I think they were all scored by Kraigg.  So, it’s disappointing for us and we are trying to work very hard on that,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

The West Indies Men’s squad has returned to full training in two groups at their preparation camp in St. Lucia after all members of the squad returned negative PCR tests, following the latest round of testing that was conducted on Thursday.

They had team sessions on Friday as well as Saturday morning and afternoon and Head Coach, Phil Simmons is happy to be able to now finetune his squad’s preparation in the build-up to the two-match Test series against South Africa. These matches will be played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground for the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy on June 10-14 and June 18-22 and are the final matches in the current cycle of the ICC World Test Championship. The Proteas are due to arrive on the island on Tuesday, June 1.

The West Indies players will be involved in a “Best v Best” four-day match, at the same venue beginning on Monday, May 31, and the Head Coach sees this as a great opportunity for all involved.

“I am happy that we are back to full training. We are happy with the preparations up to this point and everyone is fully aware of what is required,” Simmons said. “Yes, we had four good Test matches (vs Bangladesh and Sri Lanka), but at the same time, people need to know that their position is not guaranteed unless they continue to play well. Guys who are out, need to show that they want to get back in by doing well in these games. So, it is a benefit to every one of us.”

Simmons also praised the facilities provided in St. Lucia throughout the camp at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, which is overseen by CWI Head Groundsman, Kent Crafton. The West Indies Men are gearing up to begin a busy summer schedule, which includes visits from South Africa, Australia and Pakistan before the Caribbean Premier League begins in late August.

The players and staff were previously forced to train in small groups, as a result of the positive COVID-19 and isolation of fast bowler Marquino Mindley on Friday, May 22.

Mindley, who has already returned one negative PCR test on Thursday, remains asymptomatic and in isolation at the team hotel. The CWI medical team continues to monitor his progress, as he requires one more negative PCR test before being allowed to re-join the squad.

The full squad comprises Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Keron Cottoy, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Jahmar Hamilton, Kavem Hodge, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Paul Palmer Jr., Veerasammy Permaul, Anderson Phillip, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales, Nial Smith, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr. and Jomel Warrican

 

 

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel has named a 30-man squad for a three-week high-performance red-ball training camp in St Lucia, starting today in preparation for the upcoming Test Series against South Africa.

Following the recently concluded 0-0 Test series between the West Indies and Sri Lanka, the first nearly since the nil-all stalemate between Bangladesh and South Africa in 2015, West Indies head coach Phil Simmons, believes Caribbean curators need to prepare better pitches, ones that can yield results.

The two sides battled to the two-Test stalemate in which some batsmen filled their boots but more often than not the bowlers struggled to get 20 wickets. In the first of the Test matches played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Sri Lanka failed to get 20 wickets in the match as the West Indies had scores of 271 and 236-4.

The local bowlers had early success bowling Sri Lanka out for 169 only to toil as the visitors scored a mammoth 476 in the second innings. In the second Test, West Indies made 354 and 280-4 while Sri Lanka had scores of 258 and 193 for 2.

In both matches, batting became much easier for both teams while the bowlers struggled.

The trend was not lost on the West Indies head coach.

“I think we from a country standpoint need to get better wickets where we can have Test matches that will create a result,” he said.

“Even if we lost a Test match after it’s gone to the fifth day, you will still think that we’ve done well to get to the fifth day and were in with a chance of winning the Test match, so I think that’s an important part of it.”

Notwithstanding the struggles of his bowling attack, Simmons said he was comfortable with what he has now.

“We had the bowlers there who we wanted to be in the Test team,” he said.

“Everybody else is still work in progress and still looking to put themselves in contention so right now these five bowlers are our main bowlers.”

 

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes a change of approach by his team’s batsmen is largely responsible for five of them averaging over 50 for the just-concluded series against Sri Lanka. Kraigg Brathwaite, Nkrumah Bonner, Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall hit that significant milestone during the series that ended in a stalemate between the two cricketing nations.

It was the first time since 2012, that West Indies batsmen have been able to achieve that feat and only the second time since 1995.

Brathwaite, who started off the series with scores of three and 23 in the first Test, finished strong with his ninth Test century, 126, and a second innings score of 85 that spiralled his average in the series to an excellent 59.25.

Kyle Mayers, perhaps the most consistent of the West Indies batsmen had scores of 49, 55, 45 and 52 for an overall average of 50.25.

Incidentally, these were the two lowest averages of the five batsmen. Nkrumah Bonner, who scored his first Test century in the series, 113 not out, averaged 72 while Jason Holder averaged 69 after scoring 71 not out, 30, 19 and 18 not out.

Rahkeem Cornwall had only two turns at-bat and he made them count. His 61 and 73 gave him an average of 67, to round out an impressive all-round performance from the West Indies despite the fact that they were unable to force a win in any of the two Tests.

Simmons, though, was pleased with what he observed.

“Everybody is looking to occupy the crease. People are working to bat for long periods and our depth goes deeper because Alzarri Joseph and Rahkeem Cornwall have shown within the last three series that they can bat and they can provide that 50-100-run partnerships that later down can take us to 350 to 400s,” said the West Indies head coach.

He was particularly pleased with Cornwall’s performance with the bat. Already, a crucial member of the bowling attack, Cornwall enhanced his reputation as a genuine allrounder.

“It was great to see Rahkeem’s batting coming to the fore, and in all, the batting has shown up in the last four Test matches and this is a great thing because, before that, the bowling was carrying us,” Simmons said.

The last time the West Indies had five batsmen averaging over 50 in a Test series was back in 2012, when Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kieran Powell and Denesh Ramdin all surpassed the milestone. Chanderpaul averaged over 300 for the series.

Before that, six West Indies batsmen - Chanderpaul, Junior Murray, Winston Benjamin, Jimmy Adams, Brian Lara and Sherwin Campbell - all averaged over 50 runs an innings against New Zealand in 1995.

 

 

Discarded West Indies players Shai Hope and Roston Chase will have to fight their way back into the Test team, after not being selected for the matches against Sri Lanka.

Hope, widely agreed to be one of the region’s most talented batsmen, was dropped from the team after a poor run of form in November of last year.  Chase, the consistent all-rounder, at the same time replaced Kraigg Brathwaite as vice-captain ahead of the New Zealand series.

Both players were called to the team ahead of the Bangladesh series but were among 12 players to decline due to health and safety concerns. 

Hope has since returned to the ODI squad, where he looked to be in strong form.  Chase, who initially missed out on the minimum fitness requirement ahead of the series, put on a strong display in the warm-up tour matches.  Both players remain on the sideline, so far.  For now, according to Simmons, however, the current players are doing well enough to keep their places.

“The guys who played in the Test matches have done well, so we need to continue to back the guys who have done well in the last three Test matches,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“The way I look at it is the guys did well.  The guys went to Bangladesh, each one of the batsmen did well.  They earned their places.  So, it is a case where they continue to play and play well,” he added.

“Roston, Shai, those other players will have to fight their way back in, and that just how cricket goes.”

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, insists the team will need to brush up on its bowling and work in the field ahead of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka, which gets underway on Monday.

The West Indies successfully negotiated the fifth and final day on the back of a patient 113 undefeated from the bat of Nkrumah Bonner.  After being dismissed for 169 in the first innings a massive 476 piled up in the second innings would have been a massive concern.  The Sri Lankans were led by 103 from Pathum Nissanka and 96 from Niroshan Dickwella.  The pair frustrating and blunting the Windies bowling attack.

For large periods of the second innings, it seemed the hosts had lost their way, with a series of poor displays in the field and poor choices to review.  Simmons believes if the team is to win a second straight Test series, the errors must be cleaned up.

“I think our discipline when we are bowling has to improve,” Simmons told Windiescricket.

“The few hours in the field that we allow runs to just slip by us, because of the discipline, that definitely has to tighten up, and then we just have to bat in the second innings like we batted in the first innings,” he added.

 

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, insists the team is looking for improvement in every area ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka, on Sunday, but particularly targeted once again achieving the elusive 400 runs first innings score.

In recent matches, the regional team has carved out some momentum, following up hard-fought Test series win over Bangladesh with a T20 and dominant ODI series win over Sri Lanka.  Heading into the start of Sunday’s Test series, however, Simmons is far from satisfied.    

“We need to improve in every area, we had a good series but there are lots of things we need to keep improving on,” Simmons told Windies cricket.

“We need to make sure we get 400 in the first innings, which is something that we are striving for every time we play.  Then we have to bowl and bat even better than we did in Bangladesh,” he added.

The West Indies reached 400 first innings runs last month, in the series against Bangladesh, but reaching the total has proven to be the exception rather than the rule.  Prior to that, the team got to the total against Sri Lanka in 2018.

The highest first innings total, in the last 10 years, was 590 against India in 2011, in total they have achieved the feat seven times.  By comparison, Australia has achieved the feat 27 times within the same period.

 

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes batsmen must avoid the temptation of being too tentative in looking to navigate the Sri Lanka spin attack, as the team looks to bounce back in the third and decisive T20 international, on Sunday.

The Windies took the opening match of the series with a comfortable four-wicket win, with 41 balls remaining.  On Friday, however, Sri Lanka came roaring back to claim the second match after a star performance from the team’s spinners.

Lakshan Sandakan and Wanidu Hasaranga proved particularly hard to negotiate, each claiming three wickets, with Sandakan boasting a miserly economy rate of 2.73.  In pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 160 for 6, the Windies were restricted before being bundled out of 116.  Things had not gone smoothly against the spin in the first match, despite the result, with Akila Danajaya claiming a four-for, including a third over hat-trick before being taken apart by Windies captain Kieron Pollard who smashed 6 sixes off his over.  The coach believes a similar approach could pay dividends in the decider.

“The key is playing them in the right way.  You can’t be too tentative when you are playing against good spinners,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Saturday.

“We have to still go out there and look to score against them and playing cricket how we know how to play cricket,” he added.

“All the guys who played IPL would have played against these spinners or even better spinners and done well, so that is what we have to make sure we do tomorrow.”

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes the team needs to improve in all areas going forward and especially if they are to win the second Test against Bangladesh set for the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday.

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, insists the team must be ready to take advantage of any rustiness on the part of the Bangladesh team but insists the hosts are firm favourites heading into the series.

The Bangladesh team has not played a Test since February when they faced Zimbabwe at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.  The West Indies has in the meantime, played two-Test series against England and then New Zealand.

Relying on that statistic would, however, be slightly misleading as several of the West Indies' first-team players opted out of the tour, leaving the unit to rely on more inexperienced players for the tour.  In such circumstances and Bangladesh’s home record, Simmons is skeptical of there being any advantage but hopes the team will be able to captilise once there is.

“There could be a little bit of vulnerability early in the Test because they haven’t played any international Test cricket for a year now and getting back into it might expose some vulnerability early on," Simmons told members of the media.

“I’m sure that, that would be taken care of because they have a fairly experienced team, with the likes of Tamim and Shakib.  The experience is there so it might not last too long, but if it does happen, we have to take that opportunity and seize on it,” he added.

“Bangladesh will always have the edge no matter who they are playing at home.  They are a very strong side when they play at home.  So, they will always have the edge even when they haven’t played any cricket for a year.”

Bangladesh won the previous series, which consisted of three ODI matches, against the West Indies 3-0.

 

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons hopes the relative experience of the Test team, compared to the One Day International (ODI) unit, will make for a more competitive showing against Bangladesh when the series bowls off next week.

World-class spinner Shakib Al Hasan and a full-strength Bangladesh made short work of the regional team in a lopsided 3-0 sweep of the ODI series last week.  The Windies went into the series without several of its regular first-team players who pulled out of the tour for various reasons.

The ODI team, which was captained by Jason Mohammed, was the hardest hit, however, with at least eight players making their international team debut.  With more proven campaigners like bowlers Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel, and batsmen Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood, the Test team should be in better shape, in terms of experience in any case.

“It’s a big difference, we may have one, maybe two debutants for this Test series, whereas we had 10 for the ODI series.  So, it’s a huge difference,” Simmons said.

“The good thing is that those guys have been down here before.  On the last tour down here, Kraigg (Brathwaite) was captain, and Shannon and Roach were here.  So, it’s good to have that kind of experience going into a Test series,” he added.

The West will play Bangladesh in a two-Test series, which begins on February 2nd.  The second Test will take place between February 10th to 15th.

 

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, insists the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh will be a chance for inexperienced players to prove their mettle by doing well for the short-handed team.

If the play in the One Day Internationals (ODIs) is anything to go by, the regional team could have plenty of cause for concern as they have been unable to compete with Bangladesh to date.  In two matches so far, in which they batted first, the team was bowled out for 122 and 149 before Bangladesh easily chased down the target.

Facing off against the Asians next week, in what could be considered their weakest format, and with just as many inexperienced players in the line-up, it is likely to be a stern challenge.  Simmons sees an opportunity.

“It’s chance that guys get to show what they can do at this level.  It’s a chance for them to put their names in the hat for 2023 and put their names in the hat for Sri Lanka and later this year.  So, it’s good to see what people are made of,” Simmons said.

The coach predicts the four-day contests will be good for the team, as it should prove to be a test of strength.

“Playing in these conditions, playing in the environment that we are in and everything, you have to be strong.  You have to get stronger than just playing a cricket match.  So, you will see who are the strong ones and who leads from the front.  Let’s see who takes up the challenge and who comes out best in the two-Test matches.”

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