Simmons expects “main T20 guys” to be “sharp”
West Indies coach Phil Simmons has backed the players arriving on the New Zealand tour from the IPL to be ready for the T20I series at the end of November, despite the fact that they will not have completed their managed isolation until the eve of the opening match in Auckland.
While the remainder of the touring party arrived on Friday after a 54-hour journey from the Caribbean, six members of the T20I squad, including captain Kieron Pollard, will leave the UAE following the conclusion of the IPL on November 10. The other players to join Pollard are Fabian Allen, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas and Test captain Jason Holder, who is not part of the T20I squad.
However, Simmons did not believe the benefits of being in the competitive environment of the IPL would wear off during their two weeks of managed isolation where players are able to train in various sized bubbles.
“It’s a little bit difficult this time because when the main T20 guys get here they are in isolation until [just before] the first game,” Simmons said. “But 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 [November 27] as a full squad everyone is on the same page.”
West Indies, who last played T20Is in early March against Sri Lanka when they won the series 2-0, will be missing two of their key all-rounders, with Dwayne Bravo ruled out through an injury sustained at the IPL and Andre Russell opting out of the tour. Simmons, however, said this was a chance for other players to press their claims for next year’s T20 World Cup in India following the postponement of the 2020 event in Australia which would have been taking place now if it weren’t for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are going to try and continue how we planned the preparation,” he said. “In this series especially there are a few guys who weren’t in that team in Sri Lanka and they will be trying to push themselves into the final 15 next year because we are missing the two main all-rounders.
“At this point you have quite a few players trying to understand how exactly they fit into the line-up and that’s what the build-up is now – if you are on the bench you know exactly what you have to do and if you are in the XI you know what you have to do.”
Looking further ahead to the Test series in December, Simmons wants his players to learn the lessons from the England tour which included a notable victory in Southampton before their form slipped to lose the series 2-1.
“We are trying to continue to build,” he said. “We have to take that Southampton performance and see what the points are that we need to work on to better that. It’s very difficult to beat teams [at their] home now and we need to play the best cricket we can in any Test to beat teams high up the table, of which New Zealand is one of them.” (ESPNCricinfo)