LAUDERHILL, Florida (CMC) – West Indies head coach Floyd Reifer has underscored the value of experience in the Twenty20 unit, as the Caribbean side prepare to take on India in a three-match series starting here tomorrow.
Selectors last month named a 14-man squad for the first two matches at the Central Broward Stadium, with seasoned campaigners Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell included in the lineup.
Significantly, Narine will be appearing for West Indies for the first time in nearly two years and his presence, along with that of the senior players, has given Reifer cause for optimism.
“Experience is vital. You can’t go wrong with experience,” said Reifer, who oversaw West Indies’ disastrous World Cup campaign.
“We will be depending on Pollard, Narine and those guys to bring all the experience they have. They’ve been playing over 10 years in the IPL so they’ve been playing against the Indians for a long time.
“In speaking to Pollard, in speaking to Narine, they are eager as well to lend all the experience they can to the team set-up. It’s just a matter of going out there and gelling together as a team and putting in good performances, and when we’re put under pressure that we band together as a team.”
He added: “The team is a young team. I like to mix experience with youth – it’s a good blend. But I’m looking forward to guys like Pollard, Narine and Carlos Brathwaite sharing knowledge with the younger guys.
“We have a young team with good talent. It’s just a matter of getting the guys in the right frame of mind to perform at the international standard.”
Guyana Jaguars wicketkeeper/batsman Anthony Bramble has been called up for the first time while rookies, left-handed opener John Campbell and left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, have also been included.
Reifer said the squad had been gelling well and creating the type of atmosphere crucial to team unity and success against India.
“We have young Khary Pierre. He’s a young spinner who actually played in India last year. He bowled pretty well and is a good fielder as well,” Reifer pointed out.
“We have a good blend and I like what I’m seeing here at the practice sessions. Everybody is enthusiastic, energy levels are high, and guys are pushing one another and working hard; so these are the things we’re trying to get into the team.
“We’re trying to change the team culture, trying to get the work ethic to be as high as possible and we want the intensity levels to be very high every time we come to a practice session. Those are the things we are working on with the younger players to have a solid culture going forward.”
Reifer also backed the uncapped Bramble to be an asset to the side when called on.
“He’s been around first class cricket for a while. I saw him play a few times and he played some good innings for Guyana,” Reifer noted.
“He toured with the A team last year to Canada and I think Bramble will bring some youthful experience to the team. He is willing and eager to get out there on the park and perform.”