Estwick warns Windies to prepare to ‘fight and scrap’

MANCHESTER, England, (CMC) – Assistant coach Roddy Estwick said Monday West Indies had put last year’s Wisden Trophy triumph behind them and were cognisant of the new challenges which lay before them when they faced England in next month’s three-Test series.

The Caribbean side thrashed England on home soil to claim their first series win in a decade but Estwick said with England in home conditions, and with the tour overshadowed by COVID-19 playing protocols, West Indies were facing a “very difficult series”.

Stressing the need for thorough preparation and discipline, Estwick said West Indies had to be prepared to “fight and scrap”, if they were to successfully defend the Wisden.

“It (last year’s series win) should give us some confidence but remember we won the Wisden Trophy back in the West Indies,” Estwick cautioned.

“We’re in England now where England are very, very strong and where they very seldom lose Test series, so we’ve got to be up and running, we’ve got to be well prepared – that’s the key thing.

“We can’t become complacent thinking we’ve won the series in the West Indies. It’s a new series, it’s completely different now, it’s being played behind closed doors, there are no spectators so there are a lot of changes since we last played in the Caribbean so we’ve got to be ready.”

He continued: “We’ve got to make sure that our preparation is spot on, our discipline is spot on and we cannot underestimate the English. They’ll be hardworking, we’ve got to be disciplined.

“They’re under a new coach, they’ve come off a good series win in South Africa so they will be ready and we’ve got to be ready to match them stride for stride and be prepared to fight and scrap because this is going to be a very, very difficult series and we know that and we’ve got to be well prepared.

“The key thing is how well we prepare and then trust the process, and go and execute properly.”

West Indies will be also fighting the weight of history, having not won a series in England in 32 years. In their last series here three years ago, they produced a remarkable win at Leeds to level the three-match rubber but then lost heavily at Lord’s.

Estwick, who was part of the coaching unit for the 2017 series here, said the Headingley victory had proven West Indies had the ability to compete with the best Test sides.

“If you remember we got beaten badly at Edgbaston and we regrouped and had a famous win at Headingley,” the Barbadian recalled.

“What that tells us is that we can compete and if you look over the two series. For me, you would say the series is three-all right now – England won two Test matches over here in 2017 and we won one; we won two in the Caribbean and they won one so the series for us is all square.

“We need now to win this series just to get ahead because we won on home soil, they won on home soil so it’s all up for grabs so we’ve got to make sure we find that extra motivation and if we find that extra motivation, then we can spring a surprise.”

West Indies arrived here last Tuesday for the historic tour which will take place in a bio-secure environment amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

They are currently training while under quarantine at Old Trafford here and will remain isolated from the public for the duration of the seven-week tour, which will see Tests at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and at the storied venue here.

Estwick said the most important part of the preparation now was practice matches, especially with players coming out of lockdown situations in the Caribbean and unable to get match practice under their belts.

“I don’t think motivation is a problem. I think once we can get them up to speed, that’s going to be the most difficult thing,” he pointed out.

“Obviously they were in lockdown for two months but we (Barbadian contingent) were fortunate enough in the last two weeks in Barbados before we came over, we were able to get some work done.

“The weather has been kind to us here since we arrived in England so we’ve had five days of practice so we’re getting there – we’re not fully there.

“We had a meeting last night to discuss how people are feeling in their body and how ready they think they are. Most people think they are about 80 per cent at the moment so we just need to keep building up and the key thing for us is to arrive in the first Test fully ready.”

He added: “We’ve got three practice matches and once people can get some more miles in their legs because as you know match practice is very, very important. You can prepare all you want in the nets but you need to go in and try and get some match readiness so once we can get match hardened then we should be fine.”

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