Phil Simmons: Extended preparation period played key part in beating England

Despite going 1-0 up in the three-match Test series, Simmons warned his players to guard against complacency ahead of the second Test in Manchester.

Phil Simmons is currently in his second stint as West Indies coach.   -  Getty Images

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes that the extended preparations after early arrival due to COVID-19 protocols played a key part in his side’s four-wicket win over England in the first Test in Southampton.

“I think that has been the biggest influence on the performance. The fact that we’ve been here for that period, we’ve had quality bowling in the nets because we’ve had nearly 11 seamers here, you can’t put a price on that,” he said on the eve of the second Test starting at Old Trafford on Thursday.

“I don’t like to go back into my (playing) days, but we would come to England and play something like three or four proper warm-up games before the first Test, and we would also have three-day or four-day games in between the Test matches. So I think that period of training goes a long way [in impacting] how we performed in that first Test.”

Despite going 1-0 up in the three-match Test series, Simmons warned his players to guard against complacency. “For me it was a great win because I think that it signified a lot of hard work being done by the players over the last four or five weeks. It was a top-class Test match, with good cricket played by both teams, and even coming down to the last hour, it could have gone either way.

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“But you guard against complacency by just trying to do the same things you did before the first Test. Right now that Test match is history. We’ve got to be thinking about what we do from Thursday to Monday.

“You don’t come to England and just win a Test match. To come out on top. It’s been great for us, and it was important because you don’t want to have to chase England in England. So the chasing is from their point of view now,” the 57-year-old former all-rounder said.

Simmons heaped praise on pacer Shannon Gabriel, who was originally not in the West Indies squad, but was later added after he proved his fitness.

“The hardest time for bowlers, after bowling from the morning, is that last session,” Simmons said.

“To see him (Gabriel) and Alzarri (Joseph) come up trumps in that session is so pleasing to us. With him coming back from that ankle surgery and working as hard he has worked since we’ve been here, it was a joy to see him succeed in that period.”

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