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Simmons: West Indies batters will 'continue to be aggressive' but shot-selection should improve 'tenfold'

Head coach admits "game-awareness was not at its best" on the day they folded for 55 against England

Deivarayan Muthu
Defences breached: Andre Russell is bowled, England vs West Indies, Men's T20 World Cup 2021, Super 12s, Dubai, October 23, 2021

Phil Simmons wants West Indies batters to find a way to succeed in the slow, low UAE conditions  •  ICC/Getty Images

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has called for greater application and game-awareness from their batting line-up after they folded for 55 - their lowest total in T20 World Cups and third lowest overall overall in the tournament - in Dubai on October 23.
"For me, Saturday was just about bad shot selection," Simmons said. "The bowling wasn't, as we would say, extraordinary. All the guys have played against these guys [England] before, so I just put it down to bad shot selection. We need to improve that tenfold by the time we get to Tuesday."
Simmons, however, emphasised that West Indies won't curb their natural style of play, which is based around power-hitting, and challenged the batters to find a way to succeed in the slow, low UAE conditions.
"Well, the style in which we play our cricket has always been in the style in which we play our cricket," Simmons said. "But we also got to assess the situation at the time and play according to the situation. So, there's enough experience in the team for that; any two batsmen in there at the same time would have that experience to assess the situation and play accordingly. We will continue to be in our aggressive state, but our shot-selection and assessment of the situation must be a lot better."
Poor shot selection aside, was the drubbing at the hands of England down to West Indies misreading the Dubai track and ignoring their designated anchor Roston Chase?
"It was a concern from yesterday because the game-awareness and situational-awareness was not at its best yesterday, so from that point of view definitely and it's something that has been addressed."
Phil Simmons
"First of all, I don't think we misread the pitch," Simmons said. "Yes, spinners got some wickets, but as you go along, we've seen that.... the pitch was a good pitch at the start. You have to make the most of the first six-seven overs and you have to fight till you get to the latter part of the innings. I think when we assessed the pitch, we assessed the squad, we thought that the XI that we went into the game with was the right squad for that game. Yes, Chase got runs in the game before [54 not out in the warm-up against Afghanistan] but when we were in the ground, we assessed that was the right combination for Saturday."
Opener Lendl Simmons was among several West Indian batters who had been dismissed trying to clear the boundary. Simmons swiped at offspinner Moeen Ali and ended up holing out to deep midwicket. In the warm-up against Afghanistan at the ICC Academy, he had fallen to another offspinner, Mohammad Nabi, in similar fashion. Simmons said that the team management has discussed the potentially worrying pattern of dismissals with the group.
"It was a concern from yesterday because the game-awareness and situational-awareness was not at its best yesterday, so from that point of view, definitely and it's something that has been addressed not just with him [Lendl Simmons] but all the players as to how to assess the situation because it can be assessed from inside...Those in the middle have to assess the situation and play accordingly."
Simmons was also wary of left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who is currently the No. 1 T20I spinner in the ICC rankings. In the recent T20I series in the Caribbean, Shamsi thrived with seven wickets in five matches, conceding just four runs an over as South Africa won the series 3-2. Simmons acknowledged the threat posed by Shami's ability to turn the ball both ways, but West Indies are planning to diffuse it.
'Yeah, we've been looking back at that [T20I series in the West Indies] and seeing how in the games so far here [in the UAE] how people have played and won but also about how batsmen are going to find a way to score off him and without him being such of a threat."

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo