Head coach: West Indies batsmen starting to deliver

Phil Simmons awaits his fate
West Indies Head Coach, Phil Simmons.
Associated Press / Ricardo Mazalan

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has lauded the effort of his batsmen following conclusion of the recent the Test series against Sri Lanka, saying that the batsmen are starting to pull their weight after the bowlers carried the team for years, according to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

It said the two-match series, played at the Sir Vivian Cricket Stadium in North Sound in Antigua and Barbuda, ended in a 0-0 draw.

Five West Indies batsmen ended with an average of over 50 — captain Kraigg Brathwaite, Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner, Jason Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall, Newsday said.

It said Brathwaite and Bonner both cracked centuries during the series, and that there were also two half-centuries each from Mayers and Cornwall, and one apiece from Holder and Brathwaite.

Speaking with Cricket West Indies, Simmons said the highlight in the series was batting to save the first Test match on the final day.

Chasing an improbable 375 for victory, West Indies closed on 236/4 with Bonner leading the way with an unbeaten 113, Newsday noted.

“The biggest takeaway is we could bat on a fifth-day pitch to save a game, to draw a Test match,” Simmons said. “It is something that we have not done for a while, and we needed to make sure we were able to do it.

“I think that is the biggest thing in this (series); and, then, the attitude of the team keeps growing, the attitude of guys wanting to make runs, wanting to score hundreds,” he added. “It was good to see the captain getting a hundred after a long, barren period.

“I think the important thing now is that everybody is looking to occupy the crease,” the head coach continued. “People are looking to bat for long periods. The batting has stood up in the last four Test matches, and this is the great thing, because, before that, the bowling was carrying us.”

Simmons underscored the batting contributions of Cornwall and Alzarri Joseph at the end of innings during the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh series.

Prior to the Sri Lanka series, West Indies defeated Bangladesh 2-0 in a two-match Test series in Bangladesh, Newsday said.

“In every series, you are not going to get every batsman firing,” Simmons said. “One series, you will get two or three, (and in) the next series you might get a different two or three.

“The important thing is that the team is batting as a team; and, every Test match, somebody is standing up, every Test match somebody is looking to get a hundred or a big score,” he added. “And we’ve been graced with that in the last four Test matches. The batting is coming to the foe now.”

In terms of the pitches in the Caribbean, Simmons said they need to suit the home country.

“I think we, from a country standpoint, need to get better wickets where we could have Test matches that would create a result,” he said. “Even if we had lost a Test match after it’s gone to the fifth day, you will still think we have done well to get to the fifth day.”