Bravo believes Head Coach Simmons can transform Windies fortunes


Bravo believes Head Coach Simmons can transform Windies fortunes

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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WEST INDIES batsman Darren Bravo says Head Coach Phil Simmons is capable of providing the guiding hand which could reinstate the regional side as a powerful force in world cricket.

Simmons, who had spells with Afghanistan and Ireland, is a year into his second stint as West Indies coach. The former West Indies player will oversee his charges in three Twenty20 (T20) Internationals and two Tests against hosts New Zealand.

“He [Simmons] is from the old school so he understands what it takes to be successful. He understands that the only way to get through is hard work and he tries to push us each and every step of the way,” Bravo said on Sunday during a virtual press conference from the team's base in New Zealand.

“He's definitely like a father figure…even when he wasn't the coach of the West Indies team whenever you see him either with the Afghanistan team or Ireland team you could definitely go to him and have a word with him, and he'll always give you that positive sort of advice,” the 31-year-old left-handed batsman explained.

While New Zealand are second behind Australia in the International Cricket Council (ICC) world Test team rankings, West Indies are rated eighth, a far cry from the regional teams which dominated global cricket for much of the 1970s, throughout the 80s and up to the mid-90s.

Bravo, with 54 matches under his belt, is one of the senior members of the Test squad in New Zealand.

The stylish left-hander underlined his quality days ago with a stroke-filled 135 against New Zealand A in a drawn practice match in Queenstown. He hit 13 fours and five sixes from 214 deliveries.

Bravo has not featured in the longest format since India's 2019 Test tour of the Caribbean which ran from August to September. He was forced out of the second and final match after struggling with a concussion he sustained while batting in Kingston.

The experienced batsman was overlooked for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in India late last year, but strong performances in regional cricket seized the attention of selectors. He, however, declined the Test tour of England in the summer due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

His return is a big boost to the regional side, which endured a series of batting flops in England.

Bravo averages 37.69 in Tests — the highest in the current touring party — and has scored eight hundreds and 17 half-centuries.

His record away from home is superior to when he plays in the Caribbean, and his Test best of 218 came against New Zealand in Dunedin seven years ago.

“Every single time I try my utmost best to perform well for West Indies cricket team. But for some reason it tends to click for me mostly when I'm away from the Caribbean, so let's hope the good fortune continues for this series.

“There's probably less distraction — when you're away from home it tends to be a bit easier. I think the conditions as well help you as a player — it all depends on your particular style of play,” Bravo explained.

West Indies are slated to play New Zealand A in a four-day warm-up contest which starts this evening (Jamaica time). The opening T20 is scheduled for Friday morning (Jamaica time), while the first Test is to begin December 2.

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