CHATTOGRAM, Bangladesh, (CMC) – Head coach Phil Simmons believes the three-day tour match starting here today will be pivotal in their preparation for the challenges expected the two-Test series against Bangladesh.
The Test squad had spent the last two weeks preparing for the series which bowls off next Wednesday but will get their first taste of competitive action when they take on the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI at MA Aziz Stadium.
With West Indies expected to face a difficult time on flat, spin-friendly conditions, Simmons said the tour game would replicate what the Caribbean side would encounter in coming weeks.
“The main thing I’m looking for is a thought and understanding of how they’re going to bat in these upcoming games,” Simmons said in reference to the batsmen.
“They’ll be trying to put their plans into place. I’m sure every one of them has their own plans on how they’re going to play the spin, how they’re going to play the fast bowlers and how they’re going to get runs.
“So it’s up to them in this three-day game to try and put things together and make sure they know exactly how they’re going to score when the time comes.”
West Indies’ batting has been weakened considerably with the absence of the likes of captain Jason Holder, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase and Shamarh Brooks.
Several new faces will feature in the batting lineup as a result with Kavem Hodge, Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner and Shayne Moseley all poised to make their Test debuts.
In the preceding one-day series, West Indies featured up to nine debutants and it showed in their batting, with the touring side failing to notch a total over 200, to lose every game emphatically.
Simmons said the Test batsmen had been spending long hours in the nets to ready themselves for the Bangladeshi spin attack.
“We’re facing as much of our spinners and the net bowlers as possible and just trying to work out what they have to do to play against the Bangladeshi spinners,” he stated.
The Test attack has been less impacted by player absences with West Indies managing to retain their core.
Veteran seamer Kemar Roach has made the trip along with new ball partner Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph, while off-spinning all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall is also involved.
Despite the experience, however, Simmons said it was important especially with the challenging conditions, that the faster bowlers used the fixture to streamline their approach on wickets unlikely to offer much assistance.
“It’s about knowing and learning how to bowl on these wickets,” the former Test all-rounder explained.
“Everywhere you go in the world it’s different lengths, different lines and if the wicket is flat you have to know what you want to do.
“So they have to be able to get what they want out of the game but also understand conditions and know how to adjust.”
West Indies face the hosts in the first Test at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium before returning to Dhaka, the venue for the opening two One-Day Internationals, for the second Test at the Shere Bangla National Stadium