'We are ready to fight' - Simmons warns against writing off young Windies
BRISBANE, Australia (CMC):
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons said yesterday that he was not too worried by his side's ongoing challenges in the tour match against Cricket Australia XI and has warned detractors not to underestimate the Caribbean side in the three-Test series starting next week.
The tourists have been unconvincing over the two days of the four-day match at Allan Border Field - dismissed for 243 in their first innings and then struggling as a youthful CA XI side coasted to 244 for four.
However, Simmons said it would be a mistake to write West Indies off based on their current form.
"That's the thing with young teams. It is easy for people to do that and write off teams. I don't take any notice of it," Simmons told reporters.
"It might encourage us to do better and push ourselves. It's good when people do that. England did that at their peril."
Simmons was making reference to England's three-Test tour of the Caribbean earlier this year when a senior official of the England and Wales Cricket Board described the West Indies as "mediocre" ahead of the series.
The incident seemed to motivate West Indies, and despite starting as massive underdogs, they pulled off an emphatic five-wicket victory inside three days in the third Test in Bridgetown to steal a 1-1 share of the series.
Since arriving here, West Indies have been written off by local media and several observers, but Simmons has reposed confidence in his young players.
"It is always going to be a challenge. Coming to Australia with a young team has always been a challenge, but it's good when you can face up to your challenges and defy the odds," the former Test batsman said.
"It's in our hands; we can do something about it. My role is to prepare the players and give them the confidence to go out and face the challenge. I have belief that they will.
"In 1975-76, we had that, but you saw where we went from there. Hopefully, that is a good omen, and we can follow from there."
West Indies have not won a Test Down Under in nearly two decades and have not beaten Australia in Tests in 12 years.
They face Australia in the opening Test at the Blundstone Arena in Hobart, starting next Thursday.