Brathwaite's mindset is to continue, where Sammy left: Phil Simmons

Brathwaite’s mindset is to continue, where Sammy left: Phil Simmons

Phil Simmons
West Indies cricket team coach Phil Simmons delivers a ball during a training session. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has said that having the senior players back in the T20I squad “makes things easy” for him in the series against India in Lauderhill, Florida.

Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard, who didn’t feature in the Test series is a part of the T20I squad. They will also be playing under the captaincy of the new skipper Carlos Brathwaite, who was appointed after the sacking of Darren Sammy.

“It’s good to have all the senior guys back and they make things easy for me because it’s a case of them doing all the work and they know this format inside out,” Simmons said on Thursday in Lauderhill. “So it gives me a chance to just enjoy them freeing themselves out there.”

West Indies are the current T20 champions and he said that being the champions has helped the side’s confidence, comparing them with the 1980s’ Test side.

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“In this context, I think it’s a case where we are world champions and it’s something we have made our own, similar to back in the ’80s when we made Test cricket our own. We always had the team to beat in T20 cricket so from that point of view we’ve got a lot better and all the guys are loving playing it. But it’s a stepping-stone to one-day cricket too.”

Brathwaite’s heroics were crucial in Windies winning the World T20 title in India earlier this year. However, he has an experience of just 8 T20I matches, but Simmons feels that he is mature enough to handle captaincy.

“I think his (Brathwaite’s) main mindset is that we have to continue where Sammy left us and the good work that Sammy did in this position,” Simmons said. “I think that’s the mindset of all players that we have to continue the work we did in the [T20] World Cup and before that.”

We are easy with that transition:

“Yeah, it could be a bit different but I think there’s only three players here who played in that [Test] series,” Simmons said about the transition of formats. “So it is not that much of a transition because the three players know how to play this and one of them was the best player in the World Cup, you know, batting wise. I think we are easy with that transition.”

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“We still prepare for the two days here the same way we would have prepared before. It’s just that the Indian team has been together for longer but we are over here preparing and we will do that over the next two days,” he added.

Speaking about the star allrounder Andre Russell, he said, “I don’t think there’s much to be said about Andre. From what he’s on the pitch, he just gives everything over there and he’s always going to be our main player for us. Once he starts, with either bat or ball, we are in a position of winning.”

If West Indies wins the series 2-0, they will replace India to be ranked no.2 in tje T20 team rankings. “It (ranking) is motivation but I think, as in Mumbai, just to beat India because that’s always going to be the team to beat in T20 cricket because they’ve commanded the format for a long period. So winning against India is always going to be high on the agenda. Where we get after that, we are happy at that.”

“The only thing that we are doing is that we will prepare as best as we can because India is going to be coming looking for revenge for the semi-final loss and we have to make sure that we are ready for whatever they bring to us,” he added.

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When asked about the discussions WICB held with the players during the WICB/WIPA Players’ Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he said, “I was there, and I’m happy that discussions were held,” he said. “It’s not about holding discussions; it’s about where you go from there. Let’s see where it takes us.”

“This is an awesome stadium, awesome! Looking at the CPL, the wicket seemed to be very good too. So if the wicket is as good as it was in CPL in a stadium like this, we are in for a treat over the weekend,” he concluded.