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Brathwaite: 'Important that we take control of every hour'

West Indies captain wants his team to take the game by each session against South Africa and not get carried away by "the big picture"

Abhimanyu Bose
27-Feb-2023 • Updated on 28-Feb-2023
Kraigg Brathwaite cuts behind point, Zimbabwe vs West Indies, 1st Test, Bulawayo, second day, February 5, 2023

Kraigg Brathwaite stressed on the need for a 'team effort' against South Africa  •  Associated Press

The West Indies Test team arrived in Centurion after a disappointing tour of Australia and then a series win in Zimbabwe, and will now come up against a changed-up South Africa side. But captain Kraigg Brathwaite insists that his team will not be focusing on the past - that of their own or their opponents' - or look too far ahead into the future, laying emphasis on "controlling every hour".
"I think Australia is obviously history and the Test series in Zimbabwe, obviously a different caliber team, it was good to get a series with them. I think looking here at the South African team, they still have a lot of experience," Brathwaite said at the press conference before the first Test. "They have got world class bowlers and some quality batsmen, so we have to play some very good Test cricket and it is important that we take control of every hour and we don't think about the big picture. If we take control of every hour, every session, I think we can do well."
West Indies' batting was a concern against Australia, but they put up a much better show against Zimbabwe, with Brathwaite himself getting a big century and his new opening partner Tagenarine Chanderpaul notching his maiden Test ton, which he went on to convert to a double.
Raymon Reifer also hit two half-centuries, and there were fifties from Jermaine Blackwood and Roston Chase in the series. And in the practice game in Benoni ahead of the South Africa series, Joshua Da Silva and Jason Holder also hit half-centuries.
"We are really looking forward to challenging ourselves. Australia not being the best of tours, so we know what we have to do to improve as batsmen. We look forward to this series," Brathwaite said.
"It's important obviously as openers to set the foundation for the team. We look forward to doing it. Tage [Chanderpaul] had a fantastic start and we want to continue and make West Indies proud," he said about West Indies' new opening partnership.
"It is important that we have a team effort in South Africa. So it's good to see the top order getting some scores in Zimbabwe and the middle-order in the practice games before the first Test. It's great. It's important we put all the pieces together in this series."
He said that Reifer, who is looking to lock down the No. 3 spot in the West Indies team, will be wanting to add more big scores to his name after his success against Zimbabwe.
"It is great to have him get some scores and I know he will be hungry for more success. Hope he can get to spend some time at the crease and it is important for him to carry on with those starts."
Brathwaite was optimistic about his bowling attack, but said that maintaining discipline with the ball was imperative, brushing away suggestions that South Africa's batting line-up is a vulnerability they can expose.
"I do think we have some very good bowlers. And I think we look forward to bowling at any batting lineup in the world," he said. "We won't be focusing on what the teams have done in the past. It's important that we hit our straps and discipline is very important. Before we go thinking about too many things in terms of their batting lineup, I think we need to stick to our plans and the results will take care of itself."
Brathwaite was also excited about the two new players in West Indies' squad -- allrounder Alick Athanaze and fast bowler Akeem Jordan.
"Very exciting to have two guys who have done well in our first class season. It is great to have them and they are also looking forward to the experience," he said.
In the West Indies Championship, their domestic First Class tournament, Athanaze is second on the run-charts with 244 runs in two games, while Jordan leads the wicket tally with 12 scalps in two games.