Simmons says T20 squad better equipped to face England in inaugural series
West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons (left) in discussion with his players(Photo: CWI Media)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The West Indies Twenty20 International (T20I) squad that will face England in the first Betway Series starting this weekend is expected to perform more creditably than the T20 World Cup team once players execute according to the game plan.

Speaking on Tuesday at the first press conference ahead of the five-match series at Kensington Oval, Head Coach Phil Simmons said it may not be as difficult to overcome England as some may think.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) selectors made changes to the T20 squad, including some uncapped players in the team, following the poor performance at the ICC T20 World Cup late last year.

The team went on to face Pakistan in a three-match series in Karachi, and although they lost 3-0 Simmons said there was “a lot of difference” from the World Cup squad.

“In Pakistan, yes we lost the three games but there was a lot more energy, a lot more enthusiasm and that's the group that's coming into this series here against England,” he told journalists.

“It's a difficult situation if we had the same team from the World Cup but we have a lot of new faces and a lot of guys who want to make an impression and be part of the team going forward, so I think from that point of view it is not as difficult as it would seem.”

Asked whether the team was ready for the expected challenge of England's power play, Simmons said he believed they were better equipped than in the past.

“Our strength for most of last year has been the last five overs, but the first six have been improving a lot and I think the plans are good. How we execute the plans coming up is when we're going to see how we're equipped to deal with it,” he said.

Simmons added that, like the West Indies teams in other formats of the game, the batsmen will need to properly assess the games.

“Each game has a situation. Every ball is a situation in the game, and we've got to be able to assess that situation and know exactly how we have to play that game. If you're 20-3 you play differently to if you're 40-0 at the end of six overs. These are the little situations that we need to highlight and need to assess properly and win them and that will take us to winning the game,” the head coach said.

The Betway series will feature two consecutive weekends of back-to-back T20Is starting on Saturday.

Matches will be played from 4:00 pm local time on January 22, 23, 26, 29 and 30.

The team previously announced for the series is comprised of: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr. The COVID-19 reserves are Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph, and Devon Thomas.

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