Brathwaite to WI batsmen: ‘Trust your plans against spin’

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By Akeem Greene

From the battery of fast bowlers witnessed on the recent Australia-India series, attention now turns to the craftier men of deception- the spinners- and Bangladesh at home have proven to be masters of the art.

In order to combat such, West Indies Test captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, wants his fellow batsmen to trust their plans and be positive.

While not being reckless, Brathwaite wants more positivity from the batsmen, and most importantly for them to trust in the plans they would have developed to counter the spin attack.

“We lost the series here last time, which is the motivation for us,” Brathwaite at Tuesday’s pre-match brief.

“I played against these [bowlers] before, but some of the guys haven’t [played them]. We have seen footage and from a batsman’s point of view, we have our plans in place. We have to be positive, by rotating the strike, [and] looking to be aggressive.”

The 28-year-old, who is yet to win a Test in five matches as captain, further added, “They are quality bowlers, but I think we have the skills to come out on top and get big runs. I am backing the batters. The guys have put in some work, and we all look forward to the challenge.”

West Indies Test captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, made 85 in the warm-up match and will be a key man in the batting department (Photo by Munir Uz zaman/AFP)

Two off-spinners, Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Nayeem Hasan, and two orthodox left-arm spinners, Taijul Islam and Shakib Al Hasan, took all 40 West Indies wickets on the West Indies last tour in November 2018, on the low and turning surfaces that are expected again.

According to ESPNcricinfo, Shakib especially has had the wood over the West Indies since 2009, with his 46 wickets and seven half-centuries.

The One-Day International series performance- West Indies comfortably lost all three games- already suggests that the Bangladeshi spinners have the Caribbean batsmen in a quandary.

“We all know he [Shakib] is a world-class player, especially at home. We saw some footage, and as batsmen, we have our specific plans. It is just for us as batsmen to trust them and believe in them, that’s the truth, have the confidence to go out there and do what you planned and don’t doubt it,” Brathwaite elaborated.

“He [Shakib] is a world-class bowler, but we have done it before where we have scored runs against who came against us, so it is just to back our plans.”

West Indies are wary of the threat of Shakib Al Hasan

Head Coach Phil Simmons said on Monday they will play at least two spinners, and the skipper feels the pacers will still have to play a key supporting role.

“Spinners will feature in the game, that’s my honest opinion on it. I still think there is room for pacers as well, the practice pitch was low but the pacers still were able to do a good job and build pressure, but looking at the surface it is very dry.”

Brathwaite indicated he and John Campbell have a key role at the top. The two showed great promise on the England tour to the Caribbean in 2019, but since then have tapered off significantly.

Both got half-centuries in the warm-up against the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI.

The Barbadian, who is the most capped player (64 Tests) in the depleted squad, said he is under no added pressure to perform, and that if he gets in, it is just to “go big”.

West Indies could hand out at least two debut caps, possibly to batting pair Nkrumah Bonner and Kyle Mayers.

Given Bonner’s leg-spin option, the question will be whether to go with Alzarri Joseph or Raymon Reifer, who is a recognised all-rounder, as the third seamer to support Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel.

Rahkeem Cornwall is set to play the lead spinner role which means it will be between Jomel Warrican and Veerasammy Permaul, for the second spot.

There is also a bold option of playing all three spinners since Bangladesh’s attack is expected to feature four spinners and one seamer.

The average first-innings score at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium is 370, which indicates a batsman-friendly venue. The match starts Tuesday evening at 23:30h (Eastern Caribbean time).

Bangladesh squad: Mominul Haque (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Yasir Ali, Saif Hassan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Shadman Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed, Ebadat Hossain, Hasan Mahmud.

West Indies Test Squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Raymon Reifer, Jomel Warrican.

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