Five bowlers the way forward, asserts SimmonsMonday, March 29, 2021
NORTH SOUND, Antigua (CMC) — Head Coach Phil Simmons says West Indies will persist with their new strategy of a five-pronged attack despite failing to make enough inroads to win last week's opening Test against Sri Lanka.
With the return of former Captain Jason Holder who missed last month's two-Test series in Bangladesh, West Indies opted for four seamers with Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph joining specialist spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, in the hope of further improving the attack's firepower.
According to Simmons, the move also facilitated a higher place in the batting order for Holder, currently the world's leading all-rounder in Tests.
“We're going to look at the areas in which we go up one per cent and try and improve, and one of the areas is to get 20 wickets in the Test match which is why we're playing five out-and-out bowlers,” Simmons said looking ahead to the second Test bowling off here today.
“I think that's the way we've got to play cricket. Jason is such a top class all-rounder that we have the ability to do that (play five bowlers). We have the ability more than some sides who are doing it because of his all-rounder ability.
“It is something we're trying to make sure that we do now and it gives him (Holder) the opportunity to bat at six regularly, whereas before the complaint was that he was bowling so many overs with four bowlers that he had to push himself down to eight to get some rest.”
In Bangladesh, West Indies fielded a four-pronged attack comprising two seamers and two specialist spinners – the latter of whom combined for 24 wickets in the series.
On last December's tour of New Zealand, West Indies also employed a four-pronged attack with part-time off-spinner Roston Chase used as the fifth bowler.
New Zealand batted only once in both Tests and West Indies managed to bowl them out also only once.
West Indies managed to turn over Sri Lanka for 169 in their first innings last week but then toiled as the Asian side piled up 476 in their second innings, laying the groundwork for an eventual draw.
However, Simmons said the Windies attack was resilient and backed it come good again in the second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
“We weren't as disciplined as we should have been [in the Sri Lanka second innings]. Before they [were bowled out], it was good to see the guys come out and put that effort in to stop the run flow [on the fourth day].” said Simmons.
“The bowling, I think, is going to take care of itself. They've been the ones carrying this team for a while and if they have one bad day or one bad match, we can't come at them.
“I know they're going to come back and come back strong so we have to know they're working hard and they're continuing to work hard on their skills and we'll see what happens in the next Test match.”
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