India A in West Indies 2012 June 1, 2012

'Chance for Simmons to prove fitness'

ESPNcricinfo staff

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

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  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    India A would not mind fast or slow tracks either ways.. Its matter of performing on foreign soil which would count in the end.. Pujara, Rahane, Bist, Tiwary, Dinda & Awaana are the key players to watch out for.. I would have added Varun Aaron along the squad to test his temperament. Anyways hope the Indian & West Indian can provide some good bench strength for their national team..

  • Basil on June 1, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    I agree with sniffleather. Some nice hard fast pitches would be great. I don't understand the omissions of Richardson and Tonge.

  • Carl on June 1, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    @Mozenrath Tabaqi

    I want harder, faster tracks for the benefit of the game, not just the Windies. However, I would respectfully question your opinion regarding firmer surfaces benefiting the visitors. Some of the West Indies 'A' quickies are very sharp, and provided that they display the element of control, they will surprise a few of these tourist batsmen. Here's to a good contest!

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    I'm tired of this fitness ting.I wanna see his form.If he's not fit he can't or shouldn't be playing.

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    @SNIFFLEATHER India actually will benefit from wkts. with pace and bounce. Remember they took first innings lead on similar wkts. last June-July IN ALL 3 TESTS and India were depleted except Dravid and VVS. what happened afterwards was poor batting , Role of the pitches was far lesser than what people like to think.

  • Carl on June 1, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    Certainly worth keeping an eye on, despite the national teams tour matches ongoing. West Indies of old had plenty of depth, whilst in recent times, they have been scraping the barrel at times. A strong 'A' team will help push the players towards the next step, and hopefully strengthen the national side. Bishoo needs some wickets, and Brathwaite time at the crease. They are two who have shown promise. Some of the other lesser known players in the squad should be in the selectors thoughts too, providing that they are able to make the most of their opportunities. Fingers crossed for a hard fought series, with good cricket, and plenty of selection headaches for the New Zealand series coming up!

    Note to groundmen - any chance of some old fashioned wickets? (pace and bounce anyone...?)

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    This is a positive step by the WIBC in trying to improve and promote fringe players. When we were on top, there were quite a few of these. I remember the likes of Keith Arthurton and Tony Gray, even Brian Lara had his share of these development teams. Good to se.

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