West Indies T20I captain Carlos Brathwaite has urged newcomers Rovman Powell and Nicholas Pooran to play their natural game ahead of the three-match T20I series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Both Powell and Pooran had promising performances in CPL 2016. Powell, the 23-year old batsman from Jamaica, scored 228 runs in 13 matches for Tallawahs. Pooran, the 20-year old wicketkeeper-batsman from Trinidad, played for the Barbados Tridents and belted 217 runs in 10 matches at 27.12 and a strike rate of 197.27. Pooran also effected eight dismissals behind the stumps.
"Go there, express yourselves, continue to be exciting and eventually win games for the West Indies. It's a big task to represent the West Indies, and away from home is probably a little easier because you don't have family in the stands with that extra pressure," Brathwaite advised. "You're just surrounded by your team-mates and it's a good team to be in at the moment, so it's just about going there and continuing to do the things that they did to get themselves here and do it for longer periods - it's a higher stage, more pressure, but I'm sure they can continue with it and do well."
Brathwaite also credited the selectors for ensuring that youngsters got the best exposure possible. "The selectors were very big in ensuring that some young players are blooded and rubbed shoulders with some of the best T20 players in the world so we can continue our legacy of being dominant in this format, and those were two of the guys who fit the bill at this point in time," he said.
West Indies were in Dubai earlier this year when they held a preparatory camp ahead of the 2016 World T20, which they went on to win, so while they might know a bit about what to expect from the surfaces, Brathwaite acknowledged that the weather at this time of the year was a lot harsher.
"It wasn't as hot early in the year, but, apparently, we're smack dab in the middle of their summer, so it can get very, very hot," he said. "It's for the players to prepare well, manage themselves well off the field, rehydration-wise, get enough rest, and each and every one of us is a professional and we know what our body needs to be an optimal thing to perform, so it's just about us doing things we do off the field, planning well, preparing well, and evidently performing well when the games come."
The first T20I will take place in Dubai on September 23. The T20Is will be followed by a three-match ODI series, before the tour concludes with three Tests. This is the first series for West Indies after the WICB sacked coach Phil Simmons earlier this week. The team will be under the supervision of former West Indies fast bowler Joel Garner for this tour, along with assistant coaches Henderson Springer and Roddy Estwick.