West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes the Test team is in a ‘good place’ ahead of the start of the two-match series against New Zealand, which bowls off on Wednesday.

The team’s tour of New Zealand began with a T20 series last week but they did not experience a lot of joy after being easily swept aside 2-0 by the Kiwis in a three-match series.  Simmons, however, does not expect any follow-on negative effect for the four-day team and admits he has been encouraged by their performance in the warm-up games.  The performances with the bat in the warm-up matches will have been particularly encouraging for the team, which saw the batting line-up post scores of 366 and 571.

“The T20 and the Tests are different.  The Test team has done well in Queenstown and enjoyed a tough four-day game.  Now, they are coming into the Test series with some confidence, especially with the batsmen and we haven’t had that in a while,” Simmons told windiescricket.

“I think the Test team is in a good place, I’m disappointed with the T20 team but looking forward to the Test series…I don’t think the results of the T20 will affect how they think,” he added.

The Test series is also expected to be a tough challenge for the regional team who has not won a series in New Zealand since 1995.

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons insisted he was not overly concerned by the struggles of the bowling unit to take wickets in the first practice game last week.

It was tough going on day one of the first tour match, for a Windies bowling unit that included top strike bowlers Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph.  Of the trio, Joseph was the only one to take a wicket in the first innings as New Zealand A put on 308 for 3 before declaring.  Gabriel did claim a wicket in the second innings of the drawn match.

The coach, however, believes the consistent threat of the bowling unit over the past several years speaks for itself and remained more concerned about the team's batting, which has been far less assured during the same time period.

“Over the years we have seen that the bowling has been our strength,” Simmons told members of the media from New Zealand on Tuesday.

“If in these two matches, the one that’s gone and the one tomorrow, the batsmen can get into form and get into the line that we want them to, I’m not worried about the bowlers.  The bowlers are always up to the task in the Test matches for a few years now,” he added.

Led by a century from returning batsman Darren Bravo the West Indies did put in a solid performance with the bat after scoring 366 in their first innings.

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has apologized for the behavior of his players who breached New Zealand’s Covid-19 safety protocols and caused the team to be stripped of exemptions that had allowed to train while in isolation.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has expressed optimism that the team has added needed firepower to its batting line-up following the return of talented batsman Darren Bravo, ahead of the New Zealand series.

The 31-year-old Bravo, along with Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul, declined not to take part in the team’s tour of England earlier this year, citing health concerns due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Despite winning the first Test with a commendable performance, the West Indies batting line-up went through its typical struggles in the next two, as the series went to England 2-1.  The West Indies's batting performance in the England series was among their worst on tour since 2000, with the top-6 averaging just 28.66 and no century in the entire three-game series.

With such performances, it is little wonder Simmons is excited to get back a couple of his key batsmen.  He is confident Bravo and Hetmyer can make a difference.

“He’s (Bravo) has always been important, to the Test team especially, and it’s good to have him and Shimron back in the squad,” Simmons told members of the media on Friday.

“Where the batting is concerned it will be pressure on people to hold their places, in order to hold their places, they will have to score runs and that is a big plus for us,” he added.

“He is a huge plus for us in these situations.  He has done well here.  He is one of the only batsmen that have high averages in international cricket, so he knows what it takes to score big runs at this level so it’s good to have him back.”

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has made it clear that Test captain Jason Holder is always in consideration for the regional T20 team, particularly on the back of several recent eye-catching performances in the CPL and IPL.

Holder last played for the Windies in the shortest format of the game in India last year.  Recently, however, since the resumption of cricket following an enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic, he has put in a few notable T20 performances.  In the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Holder was the Barbados Tridents' third-highest scorer with 192 runs in 10 matches and had a high score of 69.  He also made an impact with the ball after claiming 10 wickets, the second-most on the team.

Despite not being initially drafted to the Indian Premier League (IPL), Holder was called up to replace Mitchell Marsh by Sunrisers Hyderabad where he has made a big impact.  The player has, however, not been included in the T20 squad to face New Zealand later this month.

Simmons, however, pointed to scheduling being more of a factor than anything else for the Holder's omission.

“This is an odd tour.  The T20 series here finishes a day, two days before the Test match.  Being captain of the Test team, the decision was taken by us as a selection panel that Jason would not be considered for that part of the tour,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom interview on Friday.

"Seeing that he is coming from IPL now, he will have one chance to play in the four-day game before the Test match, so that decision was taken by the panel,” he added.

"Jason is always in consideration for the T20s.  He has had two good years at CPL and now he has had a good tournament at IPL.”

Phil Simmons believes several of his T20 players, who will be arriving late to New Zealand, will be ready to be at their best for the upcoming three-match T20 series against New Zealand next month, despite being in isolation until the eve of the opening match.

Several members of the T20 squad including Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Oshane Thomas, Nicholas Pooran, and Jaspon Holder, are expected to arrive in New Zealand near mid-November to join the touring party that arrived in New Zealand late last week. The players were engaged in the ongoing IPL tournament that concludes on November 10.

Pooran's time in the IPL will be winding down soon after his KXIP team were eliminated from playoff contention after losing to CSK earlier today. 

Notwithstanding, for those playing in the international T20 series, it means they will be quarantined for two weeks and will only be cleared to play just prior to the start of the series on November 27.

However, Simmons, the West Indies head coach, is optimistic that the period of inactivity will have that much of an impact of the late-arriving players.

“The plus about that is that they are coming from playing in a high-quality tournament so they will be sharp. The guys that are with us, we have to get them up to that level so when we meet on as a full squad everyone is on the same page,” he said.

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.”

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has admitted there are some long conversations to be had about the composition of the team’s top order, ahead of the third and final Test against England.

Heading into the series, concerns had been raised about how the team’s top order would fare against an experienced England bowling attack.  So far, they have not proven to be unfounded.  With the exception of Brathwaite, the top team’s top three has failed to fire so far. 

John Campbell and Shai Hope have only managed to muster high scores of 28 and 25, respectively, so far this series, and failed to make it to double digits in two of four innings.  Though offering no confirmation, Simmons admitted it could be time for some changes.

“It’s something that we have to look at over the next couple days and decide which direction we go then,” Simmons told members of the media, via a Zoom press conference.

“They haven’t fired so we have to consider it (changes) over the next couple days,” he added.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons expects a fired-up Kemar Roach for the third and decisive Test against England after the pace bowler finally broke a long drought.

Roach ended the second Test with overall figures of 4 for 95 but that did not tell the full story.  Prior to that, the pace bowler, despite crafting excellent, economic spells, had failed to claim a wicket for the entire first Test. In fact, Roach’s dismissal of Ben Stokes ended a wicket drought going back to August 31, 2019, and lasting 521 deliveries, or 86.5 overs.

It was a strange for the fast bowler, who starred for the West Indies team the last time the team’s met in the Caribbean, where he claimed 13 wickets, with one five and two four-wicket hauls.  Now that he has got the monkey off his back, however, Simmons expects more wickets to come, which would be good news for the Windies.

“It’s great to see him getting wickets, it’s been a while since I have seen him bowl so well and not get wickets,” Simmons told members of the media on Sunday.

“I’m glad he is back in the wickets that will just fuel his fire for the next Test match.”

The West Indies will play England in the decisive Test, at Old Trafford, beginning on Friday.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons can no longer ignore the top-order batting of Shai Hope, who has failed to come off with the bat in four innings of the #raisethebat Series for the Wisden Trophy, currently ongoing in England.

Hope had scores of 16 and nine in the first Test the West Indies won by four wickets in Southampton before scoring 25 and seven in a 113-run defeat in Manchester.

Hope, since scoring back-to-back hundreds against England in 2017, has only managed to get past 50 on four occasions, even as he faced the music 39 times.

“I am concerned. He has now gone some four innings without a score and in contrast to how he played over the last four months, five, six months in the other formats, I am concerned about his form and we will be sitting down and chatting about that,” said Simmons.

The coach, who was speaking in a press conference after the West Indies defeat by England in the second Test at Old Trafford, was referencing Hope’s phenomenal year with the bat as an ODI player.

In Hope’s last 10 ODI innings, he has scored three centuries, and three half-centuries, including 115, 51 and 72 in his last three innings against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

Simmons has said it was too early to decide on whether or not Hope would be dropped for the third Test or if another role in the batting line-up would suit him more.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons is disappointed that batsmen in his team have not converted good starts into big scores, blaming that fact on defeat to England in the second Test of the #raisethebat Series at Old Trafford on Monday.

According to Simmons, half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite, 75, Shamarh Brooks, 68 and 62, Roston Chase 51, and Jermaine Blackwood, 55, were missed opportunities.

The five half-centuries were scored in totals of 287 and 198 as the West Indies lost by 113 to hosts England, 469-9 declared and 129-3 declared, with an hour left to play on the fifth day and despite a rained-out third day.

“We had five or six half-centuries and no conversions. It is something that we have been talking about a lot and nobody has taken up that opportunity in this game yet again, so it is disappointing,” said Simmons.

The England victory tied the #raisethebat Series for the Wisden trophy at 1-1 leaving Friday’s game at Old Trafford as the decider.

“I think we have to do something different, we just lost a Test match. We have to add to things done in the first Test match and subtract from some of the things we have done in this Test match. I think it is critical that our batsmen carry on and make big hundreds,” said Simmons.

Ben Stokes’ bruising 78 from just 57 deliveries took the second Test at Old Trafford away from the West Indies, who, with 214 runs in arrears and eight England wickets to try and get, had the slightest of chances on day five.

Stokes slammed four fours and three sixes to lead England to 129-3 from just 19 overs of batting. The innings gave England two things, runs and time.

It made sure they got 85 overs to bowl at the West Indies, as well as a fair number of runs to act as a buffer in case they couldn’t get 10 wickets.

Speaking about the innings, West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, said he was not surprised, but he was disappointed because the West Indies got a chance to stop the carnage early out.

When Stokes was on 29, John Campbell, fielding at deep extra-cover, floored a chance off Shannon Gabriel, that may have changed the course of the game.

“The thing about him is that we know he can do that. And if you go out and drop him within six balls of the start, well then you’ve got problems then,” said Simmons.

“I think it was our doing that he got the opportunity to go on and show what he’s made of and we know what he’s made of.”

England, thanks to an all-round bowling performance would go on to win by 113 runs, bowling out the West Indies for 198, with Shamarh Brooks, 62, Jermaine Blackwood, 55, and Jason Holder, 35, the main contributors.

The #raisethebat Series for the Wisden Trophy now lies at 1-1 with the series decider on Friday at the same venue.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has pinpointed five or six overs during the course of the second Test in the #raisethebat Series at Old Trafford, that were the catalyst for the visitors ending 113-run losers.

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, has admitted that a smidge of disappointment in an otherwise satisfactory victory over England lay in the fact that none of his batsmen was able to reach triple digits.

Returning Windies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel secured a 9-wicket haul, with Jermaine Blackwood crafting a well-earned and crucial second innings knock of 95 as the team registered a 4 wicket win for a 1-0 series lead in Southampton last week. Blackwood, who faced 154 balls and anchored the regional team’s innings, seemed well on the way to securing a second Test century, but was caught by James Anderson off the bowling of stand-in captain Ben Stokes. In the first innings, Kraigg Brathwaite battled to 65, with Shane Dowrich getting 61.

For the second Test, Simmons, who insists the Windies will have no room for complacency, pointed out that the aim is to see similar scores transformed to centuries.

“The fact that we had two guys getting 60s and a couple of guys getting 40s it was disappointing to not go on to score 100s. I like to see 100s on my scorecard at the end of an innings,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom conference call on Tuesday.

“I think that is one of the areas we need to improve on. If one of the guys who had scored 60 went on to score 100, the game might have been easier for us at the end, so we have to make sure that batsmen score big 100s and take games away from the opposition,” he added.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons was quick to dismiss any suggestions that England underestimated the team heading into the first Test last week.

On the back of a responsible 95 from Windies batsman Jermaine Blackwood, and a 9-wicket haul from pace bowler Shannon Gabriel, the regional team claimed a 1-0 lead after a 4-wicket win in Southampton, on Sunday.  With the omission of veteran fast bowler Stuart Broad from the first Test, however, former England captain Nasser Hussain suggested the hosts may have underestimated the West Indies.  England instead, opted for a line-up that included Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and James Anderson.

 "Hats off to West Indies for a super performance, but I'd like to ask England one question. If this had been the first game of the Ashes, would they have left out Stuart Broad?" Hussain asked in his post-match analysis.

Simmons has, however, refuted any suggestions of underestimation.

“I don’t think so.  England is a professional unit and I would not expect that from them. I think they thought on the day they needed to bat first.  Maybe they looked at how the match would end, the wicket and how dry it was at the time,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“There are many factors why they could have batted first. I don’t want to speculate but I don’t think they took us for granted,” he added.

“I think there is a choice between five quality bowlers, so one had to sit out.  It came to Broad that day but there are three back-to-back Test matches and England has maybe five or six Test matches, so sometimes we think that’s the way we have to go.”

The West Indies and England have had competitive outings in the last two Test match series between the teams.  The West Indies also won a Test match, in England, in 2017, before claiming the Wisden Trophy with a 2-1 win over England in the Caribbean last year.

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