Simmons expects West Indies batsmen to fire in first Test against England

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has put the onus on his batsmen to score runs first up and grab the advantage in the Test series against England.

Phil Simmons admitted that the West Indies would miss the services of Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo and Keemo Paul against England.   -  Getty Images

Urging his team to rid itself of the habit of playing catch-up, West Indies coach Phil Simmons has put the onus on his batsmen to score runs first up and grab the advantage in the Test series against England.

West Indies is chasing its first series win in England in 32 years.

Batting has been an area of concern for West Indies but Simmons said “most of the senior batsmen are seasoned players” and hoped they will be ready when the first ball is bowled at Southampton on July 8.

“Mentally I think they’re tough, but I think we just need to continue working on our skills because I think when you look back at Kraigg (Brathwaite), Roston (Chase) and Shai (Hope), they’re mentally tough because they’ve done it at this level, so it’s about making sure they’re sharp and ready to go in the first game,” Simmons told reporters in a video conference.

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During its last tour of England three years ago, West Indies was bowled out within 200 in each innings, suffering an embarrassing innings and 209-run defeat at Edgbaston.

“We’ve had occasions when we’ve toured and only after the first game we start really playing cricket, so it’s something we’re trying to get out of our system and make sure we are ready and raring to go when we get to Southampton.”

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It levelled the series 1-1 after winning the second match at Leeds but suffered a nine-wicket defeat at Lord’s in the final Test. Simmons said they have stepped up their preparation with just two weeks left for the series.

“It’s only two weeks before the first Test match and preparation has to go to the next level, so we’ve started that today,” he said.

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