Coach lauds Hope, Carlos
NORTH SOUND – New West Indies head Coach Phil Simmons says he is impressed with the growth shown by the two uncapped players selected in the regional side to play England in a three-match cricket Test series starting at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium today.
Rookie batsman Shai Hope and fellow Barbadian, fast-bowling all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, were selected in the 14-man squad announced by selectors late Friday.
Hope, was the fourth highest run-getter in the WICB Professional Cricket League (PCL) amassing 628 runs from nine matches, which included a score of 211 against Windward Islands Volcanoes.
“I think young Hope is technically sound. To score double hundreds at any level you must be able to bat for a long period of time,” said Simmons, the former Ireland coach who was appointed to the vacant position of West Indies head coach after the end of the ICC World Cup last month.
“He showed that in the practice match – that he can bat for a long period of time – and that’s a big thing with young cricketers now. Some of them just want to go out and play shots but he showed that he has the temperament.”
Brathwaite, 26, has been on the fringe of Test selection for some time having already turned out in the shorter versions for West Indies.
“Young Brathwaite, he just bowled like a Test bowler, like an international bowler in the practice game and hit his lines and his length and troubled the batsmen right through, so good things to be seen,” said Simmons.
The former West Indies all-rounder took over the top job last week, and said it feels great to be working with the players.
“I’m a proud West Indian and it feels great to be back in the Caribbean working with the West Indies team,” he said.
“It has only been a week so far, but I am happy with our preparations and everyone is looking forward to the start of the first Test on Monday.”
Meanwhile, captain Denesh Ramdin expects a tough series against the visitors on home soil.
“We know they have a very good bowling line-up, so we are not going to give away any freebies,” he said.
“We are pushing ourselves a lot more now. A lot of youngsters are coming through – new faces that the English don’t know about.”
However, a number of leading players are unavailable for various reasons including Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, and Lendl Simmons.
The Windies are expected to depend heavily on Ramdin, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels and 40-year-old Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
England captain Alastair Cook said they won’t be taking the hosts lightly.
“They’re here to fight and we’ve got to expect, as I kept calling it, a war. We know we’re in for a hell of a battle,” he said. (CMC)