Phil Simmons on saliva ban: We have found other ways to shine the ball

Windies have plenty to ponder ahead of the Aegeas Bowl Test; team combination, meeting England with a new captain in Stokes and 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons said the team will find a way to support Black Lives Matter movement on Wednesday.   -  Getty Images

 

After a gap of almost four months, international cricket is set to return amid the COVID-19 pandemic with England set to host West Indies for a three-Test series in a bio-bubble environment starting Wednesday.

The Caribbeans have plenty to ponder ahead of the Aegeas Bowl Test in Southampton; their team combination, meeting England with a new captain in Ben Stokes and the means to support the 'Black Lives Matter' movement across the globe.

Not using saliva on the ball and empty stadia are the common factors for both the sides.

Head coach Phil Simmons isn't sure if his team will kneel down to pay their respect to George Floyd, who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis in USA but they will find a way to do it. "It means a hell of a lot to all the players all the support staff on the tour. It’s something that it’s not just about now. It’s about life as a whole. We as a group don’t need to say, look this is going to motivate us. It motivates us all the time," Simmons said during a media interaction on Monday.

READ| Shannon Gabriel picked in West Indies squad for first England Test

"That’s a part of our life. I am not sure whether we are going to touch our knee (to the ground). We’ll make a decision tonight as to what we can do but we’re definitely doing something. We’ve already had the logo put on the collar of our shirts, so that’s a start," he said.

When asked if the movement will lead to the team gelling better, he said: “I think in times when we played, there has always been rivalry with England. But as far as I am concerned, whenever you are part of West Indies as a player or a coach, we have been together as a unit. It doesn’t take the Black Lives situation to bring together.”

The West Indies head coach stated that the team is not too bothered about playing in front of empty stands since the islanders are used to playing at home with sparse crowd.

"I think, some of the time when we play in Caribbean, whether it is Test cricket or ODIs, there is not much crowd anyway. It doesn't hold such a barrier for us, I think," he said. "As cricketers when you are out there, you have to sometimes blackout the crowd. And this is ideal situation for that. When you walk in and just concentrate on the game. I think we will be fine with it," added Simmons.

He admitted that the two warm-up matches have helped the bowlers cope better with innovative ways of shining the ball.

"Not being able to put saliva on the ball is a huge thing because that’s what we’ve grown up with. But you must find other ways to do it. A couple of days in the practice game were hard but now we don’t have that headache. We have found other ways to shine the ball and keep the ball in shape,” he said.

England vs West Indies will be aired live on Sony Six channels from July 8, 3.30 pm onwards

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