Simmons relishes the inclusion of Gayle, Edwards for T20 series
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons said the inclusion of veteran players Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards will be an added boost for the team, as they get ready to square off with Sri Lanka in a three-match T20 series, which bowls off on Wednesday in Antigua.
It will be the first home assignment for the regional side since the global pandemic, and Simmons added that the inclusion of the hard-hitting left-hander Gayle, and the tearaway fast bowler Edwards, will be crucial for the team, as they kick-start their preparation for the defence of their T20 World Cup title, which they won back in 2016.
“We need to start seeing how the make-up of our team goes. We need to make sure that people can do a job that we want them to do, whether it be at the top of the batting order, the middle or the end. The same goes for the bowling, as we have to identify, as soon as possible, who is going to bowl our new ball and who bowls at the death,” said Simmons.
“So it starts from now, by the time we get Australia in some T20s in July, we must know what our final 15 or 16 to go to the World Cup looks like,” added Simmons.
Some pundits have questioned the inclusion of the 41-year-old Gayle and the 39-year-old Edwards, who last played T20 cricket for the West Indies in 2019 and 2012, respectively.
“We see what Chris (Gayle) did in the IPL stint, and it shows that both with the bat and on the field, he looks fitter and feels better, and he is still hitting the ball as we want to see him do it.”
“We have seen Fidel (Edwards) in the last CPL and we have seen that he can still muster over 90 miles per hour with his searing yorkers, both at the top and at the back end of the innings, “added Simmons.
The West Indies selection panel, led by Roger Harper, which also includes Simmons, have opted to go with four known opening batsmen in the squad, with Gayle, Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and Andre Fletcher.
Simmons was quick to point out that the aforementioned players are all top-order players and can be utilised in varying roles.
“For me, there is no set position with the batting. People are going to have to learn to do what they have to do for the team, wherever they are asked to do it, and that’s what these guys are prepared to do,” added Simmons.
West Indies T20 squad to face Sri Lanka:
Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabien Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair.