Tour a 'great opportunity' for younger players, says stand-in skipper

Tour a 'great opportunity' for younger players, says stand-in skipper

Monday, January 11, 2021

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Stand-in skipper Kraigg Brathwaite believes the upcoming Test series in Bangladesh will provide a “great opportunity” for inexperienced players, and says he is under no pressure after being asked to lead the side in Jason Holder's absence.

West Indies have found themselves depleted for the two-Test series after Holder, along with first choice players Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shamarh Brooks and Shimon Hetmyer, also opted out of the tour due to “COVID related concerns or personal fears”.

They were among 10 players, also across the one-day format, who have chosen not to travel.

However, Brathwaite said once players played to their strengths and executed the basics properly, he expected the team to challenge despite their relative inexperience.

“I think it's a good opportunity for this team. Obviously we have a few guys that have never played so I know the guys are raring and ready to grab this opportunity with both hands,” Brathwaite said Friday, shortly before the side's departure for London, en route to Dubai and then Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh in Bangladesh is a tough team, but I'm confident in these guys. These guys have a lot of talent and I know they will be looking to grab the opportunity.

“[They just have to] keep it simple and enjoy it. As I said, it's a great opportunity for even myself and the guys going, to just go out there and express themselves.

“So I think once they are clear in their plans, and I'm 100 per cent behind them, I know they have the ability to do well on the international level, so it's just about enjoying it and keeping it simple.”

The squad comprises the uncapped quartet of all-rounders Kyle Mayers and Kavem Hodge, and batsmen Nkrumah Bonner and Shayne Moseley, while wicketkeeper Joshua DaSilva has played a single Test and replaces first choice gloveman Shane Dowrich who is unavailable due to personal reasons.

Brathwaite, who has already led West Indies in five of his 64 Tests, was called on to lead the unit after Holder, along with vice-captain Chase, both declined selection.

The experienced 28-year-old said the step up was natural for him since he already held a leadership role in the Test set-up.

“I see myself as a leader, so I don't think it's hard for me,” said Brathwaite, who served as vice-captain extensively under Holder.

“[I'm] very familiar with most of the guys, if not all on the team and it's a great opportunity for me and for the guys, to go out there and show their worth. Simple as that.”

West Indies will have bitter memories from their last tour of Bangladesh when they suffered heavy defeats in both Tests inside three days, and Brathwaite said the key to success this time around will be batting and bowling in partnerships.

“It's to stick to the basics first, don't think too far ahead. Obviously Bangladesh tends to go with mainly spin, so I think once we're clear in our plans from a bowling point of view and a batting point of view [we will do well],” he said.

“It's about partnerships, for batsmen and for bowlers because bowlers can bowl in partnerships as well.

“I think once we come together as a team performance-wise, have a lot of partnerships with the openers leading the way – once we get runs on the board, we will put ourselves in a great position to win games.”

West Indies were slated to arrive in Bangladesh yesterday and will play two Tests following a three-match One-Day International series, in a tour which runs until February 15.

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