Brathwaite wants targeted camps before Australia tour
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Captain Kraigg Brathwaite has identified the next several months as critical for his beleaguered Test side as they seek to recover from their series loss to India and prepare for the difficult tour of Australia.
The Caribbean side continued their struggles against the Indians when they went down 0-1 in the two-Test series last week after losing the first Test in Dominica by an innings and 141 runs inside three days and then watching as final day rain forced a draw in the second Test in Trinidad, with another defeat a distinct possibility.
West Indies now face a long break from the Test format as their next series, a two-Test affair, will be in Australia next January, and Brathwaite said preparation during this period would be pivotal to his side’s performance.
“For sure we’ll have some camps in-between. We’re going to Australia [who use] Kookaburra balls, so I think using those balls in those camps is important,” he pointed out.
“So I just think those specific camps throughout that period is important. We have a 50-over regional tournament in October, there’s an A-team tour in November, hopefully, so I think that will be good to get some guys going on that tour of South Africa.
“I would say a mixture of camps and… obviously some of the guys have local cricket back home on weekend, so you can’t take that for granted, but it’s a mixture of those.”
West Indies’ batting failed them in the Dominica Test, the home side mustering totals of 150 and 130 on a Windsor Park surface which the Indian spinners exploited.
Brathwaite’s side was only marginally better in the second Test, bowled out for 255 after losing their last five wickets for 26 runs on the fourth morning to concede a first innings lead of 183 runs.
The 30-year-old opener, who has played 87 Tests and scored over 5,000 runs, said any preparation needed to be specific to the challenges which awaited West Indies Down Under.
“The key for us is when we get back home [after this series] is that we work on our strengths and our weaknesses,” he stressed.
“We know we’re coming up against Australia in six months time and we know their bowlers.
“So we as batsmen have to work out — along with the coaches — how we want to score runs against them and the challenge is going to be with the new ball and the inswing… we know that’s going to happen.
“The guys will be bowling above 85 miles per hour, pitches are good for batting, [they have] good bounce — obviously way different to the Caribbean. But they are pitches which our batsmen can enjoy more because they can play through the line.
“I think we have the talent here, it’s just [what we do] when we get home in-between the T20 tournaments and 50-over tournaments to prepare for Test cricket, and along with management we will have that discussion over that next couple of weeks.”
Discussions since the Dominica Test have centred around the quality of Caribbean pitches, especially after veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin finished with a 12-wicket match haul.
And Brathwaite said there was a need for “good cricket pitches” which would help the improvement of both batsmen and bowlers.