Tue | Jan 26, 2021

Windies target Test-ranking jump against Kiwis

Published:Wednesday | December 2, 2020 | 12:18 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
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West Indies head coach Phil Simmons says he wants the team to get back up to the higher end of the Test cricket table and that that should start with the first Test against hosts New Zealand in Hamilton today at 5 p.m. Jamaica time.

The West Indies Twenty20 (T20) International side is coming off a 2-0 series loss to the Kiwis, but Simmons expects his red-ball troops to perform better in the longer version, having undergone significantly better preparations in New Zealand.

“The T20s and the Test are different,” Simmons said. “The Test team has done well in Queenstown, having endured a tough four-day game, and now, they are coming into the Test series with some confidence, especially the batsmen, who haven’t had that for a while. I think the Test team is on good pace.”

During the three-day and four-day outings, the West Indies team has registered high scores, totalling 366 in the first game and 571 in the second. All the batsmen had relatively decent knocks in the warm-up matches, with opener Kraigg Brathwaite being the most prolific, getting scores of 47 and 246 runs.

Another player in form is Darren Bravo, who scored 135 in the three-day game and 93 in the four-day encounter. Other batsmen to have got significant scores are Shamarh Brooks, 80, and Jermaine Blackwood, 53.

The bowling unit has also had to endure a tumultuous time on the friendly Queenstown surface, with Chemar Holder staking his claim for a place in the final eleven after taking three wickets in the four-day game.

While feeling more confident in the longer version of the game, Simmons says the team’s 14 days in quarantine, where it practised and trained, served it well, and the players are hoping that the preparation can translate into wins. This will allow them to inch their way up the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), where the team currently lies in seventh place on 40 points from five matches.

“It’s extremely significant,” Simmons said of the WTC. “I think it’s a format that we haven’t done well for in a long time, and we’re trying to get ourselves back into the higher ends of the table where Test cricket is concerned. Because of that, initially, we want to do that in the Test Championship, but at the same time, we want to be winners in Test cricket itself. So, it’s important for us.”

The World Test Championship number-four ranked team, New Zealand, could be without wicket-keeper B.J. Watling for the first Test because of a hamstring injury.

Batsman Devon Conway, who scored an unbeaten 65 against the West Indies in the second T20, has been brought in as cover for Watling.

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Rank Team Series Played Matches Played Matches Won Matches Tied Matches Drawn Matches Lost Points PCT Series Wins RPW

1 Australia 3 10 7 0 1 2 296 0.822 2 1.604

2 India 4 9 7 0 0 2 360 0.750 3 2.011

3 England 4 15 8 0 3 4 292 0.608 3 1.223

4 New Zealand 3 7 3 0 0 4 180 0.500 1 0.883

5 Pakistan 3.5 8 2 0 3 3 166 0.395 1 0.853

6 Sri Lanka 2 4 1 0 1 2 80 0.333 0 0.589

7 West Indies 2 5 1 0 0 4 40 0.167 0 0.527

8 South Africa 2 7 1 0 0 6 24 0.100 0 0.521

9 Bangladesh 1.5 3 0 0 0 3 0 0.000 0 0.351

Last updated on November 19, 2020