Competition for places is good – Simmons
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes the return of batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer to the Test squad will bring healthy competition to the team’s batting unit, as the side get ready to square off with New Zealand in a two-match series starting on December 2.
The regional side will, however, play a three-match T20 series against the Kiwi’s starting on November 27, and Simmons believes the returning duo of Bravo and Hetmyer will spark a rejuvenation in the West Indies batting unit, which was lukewarm against England in the last biosecure Test series.
“That’s what you hope, when you have competition for places then people have to perform to hold on to their places, and this is a good thing. The two guys (Bravo and Hetmyer) who missed out on the England trip, two of what we consider our top Test players, they coming back will be added pressure for the guys who were in England, and that’s when you start getting people converting from 50s to 100s,” said Simmons.
On that England tour, Shai Hope, Shamar Brooks, Roston Chase and Jermaine Blackwood held down the batting positions from number three to six.
With Hope dropped for the New Zealand series and Blackwood and Brooks being the top two leading scorers in the England series, it is still not certain what the make-up of the top and middle-order will be with the return of Bravo and Hetmyer.
For now, Jamaican opener John Campbell is the only legitimate partner for Kraigg Brathwaite at the top of the order. However, with Campbell averaging just 16.80 in six innings in the last series against England, Simmons told reporters that he is not entirely ruling out using Hetmyer at the top of the order.
“It’s always a possibility, but the thing about it is that he gets here from the IPL soon, so then we can see what’s happening and we will see everyone, but as for now, it is not something we have looked into,” added Simmons.
In the meantime, Simmons’ first order of business is to get the team ready for the T20 series against a New Zealand side that have not played any international cricket for some time.
However, with the New Zealand domestic competition in full swing, Simmons expects a tough series as both teams fine-tune their preparations for the T20 World Cup next year.
“We have to try and build on this T20 team. We did well in Sri Lanka and we are trying to add to that now and make sure that everybody knows that every tour we go on, we must add something to it. I am missing a few players from Sri Lanka but at the same time, we always have players coming in who can play T20 cricket,” said Simmons.