'Mature' Simmons keen to make a mark
West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons, who was recalled to the national squad for the upcoming one-off Twenty20 and first two ODIs of the five-match series against Pakistan, has said that he has become a "mentally stronger" cricketer from the one who last played for West Indies in 2010.
"I see myself as a more mature player," Simmons said, "and I'm putting a lot more thought into my preparation for games and when I go onto the field of play as well.
"It feels really great to be back in the West Indies team set-up and among the players again as we look forward to facing Pakistan. I was away for a year and in that period I had a lot of time to reflect and analyse my game. I am happy to be back and I believe I am mentally stronger."
Simmons, who made his ODI debut for West Indies in 2006, was one of the star performers for his country in the World Twenty20 in England in 2009, making 150 runs at 30.00 and taking six wickets. However, this was followed by a poor run of form in the ODI series in Australia in February 2010 where he managed just 50 runs in five one-dayers with a high score of 29. He was dropped from the West Indies squad for the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in 2010 and wasn't picked in any format after the Australia tour.
Simmons pressed his case for a recall with strong performances in the domestic circuit. He was the highest run-scorer for T&T with 249 runs in their victorious Caribbean T20 campaign and was their second-highest run-scorer in the Regional 4-day competition with 513 runs that included an unbeaten double-century.
"I believe I can make a major contribution to the team in the upcoming T20 as well as in the ODI series and I will be looking to move on from there. I am in good form as we get ready to go over to St Lucia and I want to take that form into the series. I am batting with a lot more maturity and I am looking forward to making everyone proud," he said.
"I am totally focussed on what I have to do and I am looking to stay in control of the things I have control over. No matter what I'm asked to do I am willing to do it for the team and look to make a contribution to the team's success."