'WI must have appetite for runs' - Simmons still looking for 100s from Windies batsmen

By Sports Desk July 26, 2020

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has called on the team’s batsmen to set big targets for themselves as they look towards the upcoming battle of saving the final Test.

Chasing a sizeable 389 to win and having lost two wickets that of opener John Campbell and bowler Kemar Roach, who played the role of the night watchman, with just 10 runs on the board, the West Indies have an uphill battle.  The team’s highest score for the series so far is 318, set in the first innings of the first Test.

In five innings since the team has failed to crack the 300 barrier, which a frustrated Simmons believes is partly due to getting starts but failing to carry on and post big scores. So far for the series, Kraig Brathwaite, Shane Dowrich, Shamarh Brooks and Jermaine Blackwood have all managed half-centuries but have failed to go on to triple digits.

“We haven’t had any 100s in this series yet so I’m always putting pressure on them to get it,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“It’s still a good wicket to bat on so they have to set themselves targets of getting a big 100 on this wicket.  Tomorrow is only the fourth day, so we have a lot of time to bat, but we have to show the determination to get those big scores.”

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  • ‘Holder not aware of what's going on’ – former Windies fast bowler insists captain’s field placing needs work ‘Holder not aware of what's going on’ – former Windies fast bowler insists captain’s field placing needs work

    Windies fast bowling legend Sir Andy Roberts has hailed current West Indies captain Jason Holder as an excellent cricketer but concedes aspects of his captaincy could use a bit of work.

    Roberts believes that, in particular, the all-rounder still struggles with the setting of his field and making key leadership decisions at crucial times.

    Holder’s captaincy has come under the microscope in recent months, on the back of disappointing results and underwhelming performances by the team against both England and New Zealand.  The issues disgruntled pundits have pointed out have had to do with the his field placings and decisions whether to bat or bowl after winning the toss.

    “I think Jason Holder as a captain on the field is lost. I don’t think he is aware of what is going on on the field because if I win a toss as a captain and before lunch on a green top pitch I am having a man on the point boundary, then I am lost,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest radio program.

    “That’s the first thing. His field placing (leaves) a lot to be desired and I believe the time should come where he takes instructions from the coaches who can see the game better than he can,” he added.

    Roberts, however, also believes Holder has been let down by players around him, while also calling on the all-rounder to be more aggressive.

    “A captain is only as good as the men who he leads, so there has to be something wrong with the 11 guys on the field and cannot pinpoint certain things to the captain,” Roberts said.

    “I would give him an ‘A’ grade for his interviews – he interviews very well. He’s a damn good cricketer but he needs to be more aggressive in his approach as a captain. He’s too defensive-minded.”

  • 'They don't want to work hard' - WI legend Roberts believes weak work ethic has led to lack of top class bowlers 'They don't want to work hard' - WI legend Roberts believes weak work ethic has led to lack of top class bowlers

    West Indies legend Sir Andy Roberts insists the region’s fall off in producing top-class bowling talent is due to the unwillingness of the current generation to put in the hard yards required to be successful.

    For decades, the region was the producer of fearsome fast bowling talent, which often left opposition batsmen with plenty to think about.  The likes of Roberts, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Wes Hall, and Michael Holding are only a few of the names who could leave opponents with plenty to dread once they strode to the crease.

    Many will point to the pace-bowling lineage being broken with the end of twin towers Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, with no bowler since managing to come close to consistency matching that once fearsome legacy.

    “I don’t think that these guys are prepared for the hard work that fast bowling entails,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest program.

    “If you look at it, most players now prefer to play T20s, it's only four overs.  I must say that fast bowling is hard work, I would say donkey work, but I just believe they are not prepared,” he added.

    In recent times, some have blamed poor preparation of the region’s pitches for suffocation of the Caribbean’s fast bowling talent, Roberts, however, does not agree.

    “A lot of people blame the pitches, but I always ask, Pakistan is supposed to have some of the slowest pitches in the world, yet still they produce some of the fastest bowlers in the world.  How do they do it and we can’t,” Roberts said.

     “People believe that during the 60s, 70s, and 80s we used to have really fast pitches, that is far from the truth.  We used to have Kensington Oval, the ball used to swing around and move off the seam on the first day, but after that, it became one of the best batting pitches in the region.  It has nothing to do with pitches, it has a lot to do with the work ethics of the young cricketers, they don’t want to work hard.”

  • The start of something very special - Root delights at Lawrence's debut class The start of something very special - Root delights at Lawrence's debut class

    Dan Lawrence gave Joe Root a first-hand look at his talents on debut in Sri Lanka and the England Test captain came away impressed.

    Root brought up his 18th century in the longest format and reached 168 not out before rain and bad light spared Sri Lanka the punishment of an evening session on day two.

    The other stand-out turn in England amassing 320-4 - a first-innings lead of 185 after the hosts were skittled on day one - was Lawrence, who plundered a stylish 73 to announce himself at the highest level.

    A mighty slog-swept six off left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya came with ample panache and was the shot of the day.

    He helped add 173 alongside Root for the fourth wicket and the captain looked on approvingly.

    "I'm very impressed, I thought he played magnificently well," he said.

    "He showed exactly why he deserves his opportunity to play, and hopefully it is the start of something very special for him."

    Root surpassed Kevin Pietersen's 151 in Colombo nine years ago to register England's highest score in Sri Lanka.

    Despite this being his first Test century since November 2019, the Yorkshireman showed he had not lost his knack for going big - this his eighth score in excess of 150.

    "Generally when I make a 100, I make it really count," he said.

    "I have got quite a good record past 100, so tomorrow I will be trying to make that another really big one and drive the game forward from there.

    "I felt that I got in a really good mindset throughout this game so far and I will try and take that into the rest of this winter tour and beyond.

    "The previous couple of hundreds that I have got - even though they were a while ago - have come at the end of series.

    "So to get one at the start of a very long winter is quite exciting, and hopefully I can take that forward into the rest of the game."

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