West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite believes their mental preparation and execution of skills on the field will hold key in the two-Test series against India beginning in Dominica on July 12.
West Indies cricket slumped to a new low last Saturday when the two-time champions failed to qualify for the ODI World Cup to be held in India this October/November.
But Brathwaite and his teammates are eager to look ahead and start the fresh World Test Championship cycle with the series against India. The Windies cricketers are currently attending a training camp at the Coolidge Cricket Ground here to prepare for the series.
“It’s important to start well. We are playing against India, so you know the guys are really looking forward to it,” Brathwaite was quoted as saying by Cricket West Indies.
“I think as a team, and as batsmen and bowlers, we already have those thoughts in mind about what to expect, and this is why preparation is very important.
“It’s all about how we prepare, knowing what we’re going to get in terms of conditions.
“We generally know how the surfaces will turn out to be and we already know India’s team, so it’s important from now onwards to mentally prepare and understand the plans we want both as a bowling unit and as batters. It will all come down to execution,” he added.
Brathwaite will return to action after a four-month lay-off when the Caribbean side takes on India in Dominca. The second Test will be played in Trinidad from July 20.
Brathwaite has called on the Caribbean cricket fans to come out in huge numbers and support the team in the series against India.
“Dominica will host the first Test match and we call for the supporters in Dominica to come out and support us. But the guys are really looking forward to the first two Test matches of this cycle,” the red-ball specialist said.
“That’s great you know, in terms of the 100th Test match against India. And it’s in Trinidad, and you know they love their cricket there, so I think it’s important that we got to try and make the region proud.”
Since 2006 when the visiting Rahul Dravid-led Indian team beat Brian Lara’s West Indies 1-0, the men from the Caribbean haven’t been able to win any Test series against the Indians. In their last two tours of the West Indies, India have had it quite easy in Tests.
The Tests will be followed by a three-match ODI series starting on July 27 and a five-match T20I series beginning on August 3.
Duo leave early for India Tests
Jason Holder. File photo
Antigua: The West Indies, already eliminated from the ODI World Cup qualification race, withdrew seamer all-rounder Jason Holder and pacer Alzarri Joseph from the ongoing qualifiers in Zimbabwe to manage their workload ahead of all-format series against India at home, starting July 12 with the Test series.
“Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph will depart early from the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier. They will miss the last two Super Six matches as they return to the Caribbean,” Cricket West Indies posted on its Twitter handle.
“This is with the view of managing their workloads ahead of the Test series versus India.”
Lead men’s team selector Desmond Haynes said Holder and Joseph are key players for the Windies and the decision was taken in the best interest of the side. “Jason and Alzarri are two of our leading bowlers in all formats,” Haynes said. “We have a full schedule for the upcoming series against India, where we begin the new ICC World Test Championship, then followed by the ODIs and the five T20Is. We had a dialogue and it was felt the best move at this time is to have two of our leading bowlers return early from Zimbabwe.”
The Windies, however, picked up a consolation seven-wicket win over Oman in the Super Six round of the World Cup Qualifier in Harare on Wednesday.
Opting to bowl after winning the toss, Romario Shepherd and Kyle Mayers took three and two wickets, respectively, as the Windies restricted Oman to 221/9. In reply, opener Brandon King hit 100 off 104 balls, smashing 15 boundaries as the Windies reached home comfortably with 62 balls to spare.
Brief scores: Oman 221/9 in 50 ovs (S. Kumar 53 n.o.; R. Shepherd 3/44). West Indies 222/3 in 39.4 ovs (B. King 100; S. Hope 63 n.o.).West Indies won by 7 wickets.
Written with PTI inputs