West Indies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite has said adapting to spin in home conditions that aren't too different from those in India will be key for a young side that is looking to build from their gains in Australia.
West Indies lost that series 2-0 but showed signs of improvement, mainly in their batting, as the tour progressed. Brathwaite made his debut in Melbourne by scoring 59 and followed it with an attacking 69 in Sydney.
"As a team, we ended that tour on a high note, but transforming it now from Australia to West Indies will be a challenge," he said after a training session in Jamaica. "The pitches are slow here and the Indians will attack with spin, unlike Australia who went with pace. So it's about being patient for us."
Brathwaite said Phil Simmons, the head coach, has been working with the batsmen over a period of time to get them spin ready ahead of the four-Test series that starts in Antigua on July 21. "Spin has plotted our downfall over the last two years, but I think we've gotten better," Brathwaite said. "The coach has done a good job by getting a few batters in even during the off season, and the focus has been on playing spin better. It's a matter of us having a few options to each delivery, being patient and playing the waiting game."
With Jerome Taylor having ended his Test career and Kemar Roach searching for match fitness after recovering from an injury following a poor tour of Australia, Brathwaite is part of an inexperienced pace attack alongside Jason Holder, the captain, Shannon Gabriel and uncapped Miguel Cummins, who have a combined experience of 31 Tests.
Brathwaite said the challenge as a bowling group would be to remain persistent against a quality batting line-up. "Bowling plans are important because India, undoubtedly, are one of the more strong batting line-ups in the world both home and away. Unfortunately or fortunately, conditions here aren't too different from India now, but we have our plans for each batsman. It's about executing the plans and keeping at it even if things don't go our way.
"It's a lot tougher challenge than our regional first-class cricket. It's about being patient and understanding momentum. When you're on top, you stay on top. If the other team is on top, it takes just one good hour to wrest the momentum. Once we understand ebbs and flows of the game, we should do well to put smiles on the faces of the West Indies fans."