Simmons urges region to back 'hard-working' batsmenThursday, August 26, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) — Head Coach Phil Simmons has again bemoaned the lack of situational awareness among the West Indies batting group but has urged the Caribbean to throw their support behind the squad, following the 1-1 series draw against Pakistan here Tuesday.
West Indies pulled off a dramatic one-wicket win in the first Test at Sabina Park last week but crumbled to a 109-run defeat in the second Test at the same venue, after failing to chase down an improbable 329 for victory at the same venue.
With the pitch offering help to the fast bowlers, the home side's batsmen struggled in both innings, dismissed for 150 in the first and 219 in the second, after tottering on 159 for seven at one stage.
“We see that we can bat. We're spending 110 balls for 50 runs but it's how we read the situation in the game,” Simmons said following Tuesday's defeat.
“Because we might be batting well like we saw in the first innings and all of a sudden the ball started to swing a little bit more, and we've got to assess those situations and know how we can handle those situations in order for us to keep growing and getting the big scores.
“I think that is where we are now. We've seen a more controlled approach to the start of everybody's innings but we've just got to work out how we go from the 40s and the 50s, to the hundreds and the 150s.”
He added: “Sometimes they (Pakistan) changed the fields and we are trying to play to the fields that they've changed rather than continue playing how we're playing…but the pressure they built up [on Tuesday] was enormous on all the batsmen. I think that's a big factor in it.”
The defeat was West Indies' third in four Tests after being swept aside 2-0 by South Africa in St Lucia last June, following a horrific batting display in both matches.
However, the defeat to South Africa has been their only series loss this year as the Caribbean side beat Bangladesh away and drew with Sri Lanka in the Caribbean.
Simmons said players were working hard to improve, especially in the batting department, and the support of the region would help in this regard.
“The Caribbean has to continue backing us, from the point of view that we're seeing improvement, we're seeing the fact that guys are trying to do the things that are necessary for us to be a better Test batting team,” he pointed out.
“The bowling has been exceptional, the bowling carries its weight, it pulls the team but the batters now have to sit down and work out how to get to the scores we want to get and I think we need the backing.
“The batsmen need the encouragement because they are working hard. We don't see what's happening in the background but they are working hard.”
West Indies struggled to contain left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi across both Tests, the 21-year-old claiming an eight-wicket haul in the first and a career-best 10-wicket haul in the second to finish the series with 18 wickets and Man-of-the-Series honours.
And Simmons conceded Afridi's impact had been one of the main factors in the series outcome.
“It had to be difficult [facing him]. You can see from watching him there are some big in-swingers and then he has that short ball,” Simmons explained.
“In general, his swing and his consistency and his pace is difficult. And the wicket was good so for him to get 10 wickets in the [match] here he must have been doing a lot.
“When he wants to swing it, he's swinging it to hit the stumps, he's swinging it to get you lbw and that's why the length is a little bit fuller than normal.”