Brathwaite stresses importance of discipline as Greaves, Hodge, Joseph set for Test debut against Australia

By Sports Desk January 16, 2024
BRATHWAITE...once we can be disciplined and obviously put partnerships on the board, anything is possible. BRATHWAITE...once we can be disciplined and obviously put partnerships on the board, anything is possible.

With Shamar Joseph, Kavem Hodge and Justin Greaves all set to make their Test debuts, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite stressed the importance of discipline to his young charges, as the Caribbean side heads into a tough two-match series against Test world champions Australia in Adelaide.

Having travelled with seven uncapped players in their 15-man squad, it was always expected that West Indies would field at least three debutants in the series, which forms part of the ICC Test Championships, and with Joseph, Hodge and Greaves all showing their worth in the drawn three-day warm-up match against Cricket Australia XI, it comes as no surprise that they secured spots in the starting team.

In fact, only five members of the current squad -Brathwaite, Joshua Da Silva, Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph and Tagenarine Chanderpaul -were a part of the squad that toured Australia last summer, while Chanderpaul (eight), Gudakesh Motie (four), Alick Athanaze (two), and Kirk McKenzie (one) have a mere 15 Tests between them, which underscores the inexperience of the current West Indies outfit.

Still, Brathwaite, who is only 13 Tests away from the 100-mark milestone, is backing his side to prove competitive against the formidable Australians, provided they maintain their discipline for long periods.

The Domincan-born Hodge and Barbadian Greaves will bat at five and six behind Brathwaite and the left-handed trio of Chanderpaul, McKenzie, and Athanaze, while Shamar Joseph will join Roach and vice-captain Alzarri Joseph in a three-pronged pace attack.

"All I want to see from the team is fight. Obviously, we have a lot of guys that are relatively new to Test cricket, and they have got to show their worth to the world. It is understandable that we are the underdogs, but my thing for the guys is show the world what you can do and make West Indians proud," Brathwaite said. 

"We're obviously playing against the number one team, but I believe we do have the potential. It all revolves around discipline - how long we can be disciplined for as a bowling unit, because we don't want to go in fours and fives obviously. So, once we can be disciplined and obviously put partnerships on the board, anything is possible. But we've got to work extremely hard, and we have to believe in ourselves," he added.

Brathwaite is well aware that they are faced with a daunting task of trying to secure West Indies first win in Australia in over 27 years, but he is hopeful that the knowledge imparted by Brian Lara at training over the past few days, will serve as inspiration to spur the debutants, in particular, to great heights in Adelaide.

"It's always amazing to have Brian around. He has a good set of runs here at Adelaide, so if he could give some of the guys [an idea of how to score] that would be great. But obviously, his wisdom is always good, his advice. He's been through many situations, especially here in Australia and against Australia. My advice to the guys will always be to tap into him," Brathwaite said.

The opening Test will be live on SportsMax this evening from 7:30E Caribbean (6:30 JA).

West Indies XI: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Justin Greaves, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Gudakesh Motie, Alzarri Joseph, Shamar Joseph, Kemar Roach

Australia XI: Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

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