Brathwaite turns to Desmond Haynes for advice to rediscover form

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By Akeem Greene

Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite is under pressure to churn out some big scores following a lean patch after back-to-back centuries against Bangladesh in July 2018- his best in 21 innings since then has been 49 against England in Antigua, January 2019.

In a bid to rediscover his imperious form ahead for the upcoming series against host England, Brathwaite indicated he has sought the advice of West Indies great Desmond Haynes and has embraced Haynes’ mental fortitude.

Desmond Haynes

“I had some work with Desmond Haynes back in Barbados. He was Team Manager for Barbados when I first started so I had a chat with him; him being an opener as well was very beneficial to me. It was a lot about keeping it simple, you don’t want to complicate it that much,” Brathwaite stated Wednesday during the virtual press conference.

“Just simple advice; some things about what he did back in the day, when he was at the crease for a long period, how he would go about getting himself in and how he would face the last three overs, three over left in a day is always a tough period for an opener.”

“It was just mental stuff he helped me with, I wouldn’t say technical, we did work on some shots couple years ago but it is all mental in Test cricket, once you get your mind strong [and] that’s how he dealt with it, he was very strong-minded.”

The 27-year-old, who is the leading Test runs-scorer (3,496 runs) in the squad, insists they need to improve the returns with the bat.

Head Coach Phil Simmons had also indicated the batsmen need to begin to pull their weight and support the bowlers.

“We got to score runs; we have three bowlers in the top 20 [ICC Rankings] and once you can put runs on the board, it can put our team in a great position. We can’t underestimate and think the bowlers will just out them, we still have to be discipline with the ball but I think potentially, like when we won the game at Headingly we scored runs…we chased down over 300 runs, so we just want to put runs on the board,” the Bajan indicated.

Kraigg Brathwaite used his feet against Moeen Ali (Getty Images)

Though the reference to Headingly is refreshing since he scored 134 and 95, nearly matching Shai Hope with twin tons in West Indies amazing triumph, Brathwaite indicated it was good memories, but now it is ensuring he executes his job.

“Looking back at some footage you can see things you did well but that is history and I have an important job to do and I am ready and raring to go. I can’t always do well, I know my role and it just to go out and focus on each ball and building that foundation for my team. Batting didn’t too well the last couple of innings but no worries at all, I am up to the challenge.”

Against England in the Caribbean, Brathwaite and John Campbell, in his debut series, averaged 50.8 in the six innings for the opening partnership, which blunted the early bursts from the experienced James Anderson and Stuart Broad. He is confident that despite vastly different conditions, they can repeat similar.

West Indies wrapped up a ten-wicket win inside three days (Getty Images)

“I am confident; John and I have a good relationship…I know we will do well, we have to stick to our plans for long periods and enjoy it and that’s the bottom line. England is a lovely place to play cricket and you get value for your shots; I think we are really looking forward to it.”

With 468 runs at an average of 33.42 in this year’s Regional Four-Day Championship, the dogged right-hander said his he has great desire to make amends after falling short when he last faced England.

“I didn’t get the runs that I would like in England series at home, I got some starts…here I am looking to do that when I get a start I go on and get big scores. I know my job and once I can do my job it makes me happy I have six innings potentially on this tour and I will look to do my job in all six.”

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