CHATTOGRAM, Bangladesh, (CMC) – Head coach Phil Simmons believes the three-day tour match starting here today will be pivotal in preparing for the challenges expected for the two-Test series against Bangladesh.
The Test squad had spent the last two weeks preparing for the series that bowls away next Wednesday but which will get their first taste of competitive action when they challenge the Bangladesh XI Cricket Board at MA Aziz Stadium.
With the West Indies expected to face a difficult time on flat, spin-friendly conditions, Simmons said the tour game would repeat what the Caribbean side would encounter in the coming weeks.
“The main thing I’m looking for is thinking and understanding how they’re going to bat in these upcoming games,” Simmons said referring to the batsmen.
“They will try to put their plans into action. I’m sure they all have their own plans on how they’re going to play the spin, how they’re going to play the fast bowlers and how they’re going to get runs.
“So they are up in this three-day game to try to put things together and make sure they know exactly how they are going to score when the time comes.”
West Indies batting has been significantly weakened by the absence of captains like Jason Holder, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase and Shamarh Brooks.
Several new faces will appear in the batting lineup as a result with Kavem Hodge, Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner and Shayne Moseley all set to make their debut in the Test.
In the previous one-day series, West Indies showed up to nine starters and it showed in their innings, with the touring team failing to reach a total of over 200, to lose every game decisively.
Simmons said Test batsmen have been spending long hours in the nets to prepare themselves for a Bangladeshi spin attack.
“We face as many of our spinners and net bowlers as possible and are just trying to work out what they have to do to play against Bangladeshi spinners,” he said.
The absence of players has had less of an impact on the Test attack, with West Indies managing to retain their core.
Veteran sailor Kemar Roach has made the trip along with new ball partner Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph, while spinner Rahkeem Cornwall is also taking part.
Despite the experience, though, Simmons said it’s important especially with the challenging conditions, that the faster bowlers use the game to simplify their approach on wickets which is unlikely to offer much assistance.
“It’s about knowing and learning how to bowl on these wickets,” explained the former Test runner.
“Everywhere you go in the world, it’s different lengths, different lines and if the wicket is flat you have to know what you want to do.
“So they have to be able to get what they want out of the game but also understand conditions and know how to adapt.”
West Indies face the hosts at the first Test at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium before returning to Dhaka, the location of the two One-Day Internationals, for the second Test at Shere Bangla National Stadium