Simmons: No concerns over Paul and Hetmyer’s lack of red-ball cricket

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By Akeem Greene

Guyanese pair Keemo Paul and Shimron Hetmyer will potentially enter the two-Test series against New Zealand without featuring in a First-Class match since March. However, West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons is in no way bothered by the lack of match time, noting that players are professionals who can adjust.

Unlike the majority of the squad who arrived in New Zealand on October 30, and would have already completed their 14-day managed isolation, Paul and Hetmyer arrived in New Zealand on November 14 from the United Arab Emirates following stints in the Indian Premier League.

Prior to the IPL, both played in the Caribbean Premier League. They had earlier opted not tour England for the three-Test series in July due to safety concerns about COVID-19.

This is West Indies second series since the pandemic.

It is understood they will join the rest of their team-mates in the bio-bubble on November 26 – the same day West Indies begin their final warm-up match against New Zealand A.

Simmons indicated on Tuesday that Test captain Jason Holder, who also finishes quarantine on the same day, will be included in the First-Class match, but will only join at tea on the first day.

West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons

The Test series starts December 3, but Paul and Hetmyer are expected to feature in the three T20s, the first of which is on November 27.

“No concerns really; they are experienced enough cricketers to adjust their thinking into the Test format, so no real concerns there for me,” the Coach stated at Tuesday’s Virtual presser.

West Indies drew the three-day, warm-up match against New Zealand A in which Darren Bravo’s 135 was the main highlight.

With the exception of the out-of-form John Campbell and Jermaine Blackwood, the other top six batters got time in the middle and made runs.

Simmons is hoping his batsmen can produce the goods and win this First-Class fixture to gain confidence ahead of the first Test.

“The big partnerships, the big scores, and maybe a few more players getting scores and getting time at the wicket is most important in this game, but at the end of the four days the best thing that can happen is that we win the Four-Day game so that we can go into the Test match with that kind of success and confidence behind us.”

Simmons hopes more of the batsmen can spend time in the middle and score big runs

He further stated, “The bowlers continue to step up every time we go into a Test match so I’m not worrying too much about the bowlers, but I think we need some big scores from the batsmen so I will be looking to see if that happens in this four-day game.”

West Indies are eyeing their first series win in New Zealand since 1995.

It is also the last time they won a Test in New Zealand, having lost eight of the 12 matches since.

West Indies Test tours to New Zealand since 1995.

  • 1995 –  won two-match series 1-0
  • 1999/00 – lost two-match series 2-0
  • 2005/6 – lost three-match series 2-0
  • 2008/9 – drew both matches
  • 2013/14 – lost three-match series 2-0
  • 2017/18 lost two-match series 2-0
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