Mon | Mar 27, 2023

Simmons touting exciting cricket from refreshed West Indies T20 outfit

Published:Sunday | January 2, 2022 | 12:07 AMLennox Aldred - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Phil Simmons
Phil Simmons

WEST INDIES head coach Phil Simmons said he is expecting his new-look T20 side to play with more ‘excitement’ with a new year and new focus being the catalyst for the former World Champions.

The regional side ended 2021 on a losing note, following a three-nil loss to Pakistan away, and that was preceded by a disappointing ICC Men’s World T20 campaign where the West Indies managed only one win in five matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

With a ninth-place ranking on the current ICC T20 list, the regional side is looking to rekindle its short-format spark, similar to that which it used to dominate the 20-over game in 2012 and 2016.

That rejuvenation starts with a one-off game against Ireland followed by a five-match series against England, and Simmons is looking for his young charges to lead the way in the resurgence.

Energy and enthusiasm

“The way we started in Pakistan is the way we want to play with a lot more energy and enthusiasm. It’s a young group of guys and we are trying to mould them and get them into a frame of mind of winning and we will do everything that the team needs to win,” said Simmons.

Some of those young guns Simmons speaks of are the talented Jamaican duo of Brandon King and Odean Smith, who recently took part in the series against Pakistan.

King showed a glimpse of his immense talent, scoring the second-most runs in the series with 111 from three innings with a top score of 67. Smith also looked the part, with four wickets in three matches.

“I think I can safely say there will be a little bit more excitement as we go along,” added Simmons.

“We have always been trying to do things a little bit different and we are trying to step up things in the way we plan.”

“I think our batting is what we are going to focus a lot on because we need to be making the 160s and 180s to challenge people. Our bowling seems to be ready to defend scores and that is a good sign,” said Simmons.

The West Indies are expected to assemble in Jamaica on Monday as the regional side start the new year at Sabina Park by hosting Ireland in the three-match CG Insurance One-Day International (ODI) Series and a one-off CG Insurance T20 International (T20I) from January 8 to 16. The two-time World Champions will then travel to Barbados to face England in five T20Is at Kensington Oval from January 22 to 30.