'Chance for Simmons to prove fitness'
Stuart Williams, the assistant coach of West Indies' A side, has said that the series against India A, that begins on Saturday in Barbados, will be a good platform for Lendl Simmons to prove his fitness and return to the West Indies national team.
Simmons, who scored 1100 runs from 36 ODIs at 34.37, hasn't played top-flight cricket since he injured his left knee during the WICB Regional Four-Day Tournament in February this year. "Simmons will want to use this series to prove his fitness and readiness to return," Williams said. "He was excellent for West Indies in limited-overs cricket last year and he will want to get back in the groove and re-start his international career.
Williams said that the series also gave legspinner Devendra Bishoo and batsman Kraigg Brathwaite, who played in the Test series against Australia in April, a chance to find form. "The 'A' team serves several purposes, and sometimes players lose form, and this series will be a chance for players like Bishoo and Brathwaite to regain their form and look to get back into the senior side," Williams said. "They are both young, talented players and they have a lot to offer West Indies cricket."
Speaking after a training session on Thursday, Williams said that the 'cohesion and camaraderie' between his player would help them challenge the visitors. "They have brought a team with some experienced players (at the international level) so this series will be a good test for us," Williams said. "It is always good to compete against good, strong opposition and push yourself to the limit. Our players recognise that this will be a 'big' series for them as they look to show continued development and progress."
Both India and West Indies have a mix of youth and experience in their side on the tour. Bishoo, Brathwaite and Simmons are among the capped West Indies players in the squad, while India have Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma and Ashok Dinda in their mix.
Williams said that he was confident his side would put on a good show, as a number of players have competed at this level before. "We have a great bunch of players and it is clear we have a very good team spirit," he said. "We have formed a good unit and everyone is familiar with each other. The team has quite a few players who were part of the Sagicor High Performance Centre, as well as others who have played together for the West Indies A team before." The series will feature three four-day matches, two Twenty20s and three 50-over matches.
Edited by Carlyle Laurie