A proactive captain who knows the Wankhede stadium quite well, coupled with their lengthy stay in India having played a full series against Afghanistan before this series, will hold West Indies in good stead going into the T20I series decider against India on Wednesday (December 10), according to head coach Phil Simmons.
Losing a game after posting a 200-plus total can be deflating but West Indies came back well after the loss in Hyderabad by winning the second game in Thiruvananthapuram quite comfortably in the end. When reminded of West Indies’ famous victory in the World T20 semifinal against India three years back, Simmons didn’t want to reflect on that and instead spoke of their performance in this series so far, mentioning that it will give his team a lot of confidence.
“(The World T20 semifinal win in) 2016 was a long time ago. A lot has happened since then. But I think we’re confident because of the way we’ve played in the two games. Although we lost the first one, we won the second one. The way we prepared, the way we’ve been playing, that gives me and the players the confidence (that we’ll do well),” said Simmons.
“I think it would help because we’ve been here for a long time. We tried very hard to keep the (limited-overs) guys here even though there was a Test match on. All the guys stayed (back). Nobody went back home. So, it did help. I think that’s ideal preparation that you get for a Test series or a tournament. The period of time you spent in those conditions comes into play. The Test we played in Lucknow was in similar conditions,” he said.
West Indies’ T20I squad has the likes of Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard who have all played for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL and have a fair idea of what to expect at this venue. Simmons acknowledged that while stressing that Pollard’s vast IPL experience will especially prove handy for West Indies in the third T20I.
“Pollard has played a lot at this venue, the others have not played that much. I think the experience which they have got from here is invaluable and especially the captain (Pollard), as he has been here for 10 years. He knows things inside out and that will definitely help our bowlers mainly, there are a few young (guys) in this format. It will definitely help.
“Kieron is proactive with all the players. He lets them know exactly what he wants from them. He’s been good in the sense that they know that he’ll give everything for the team. That’s where he’s started,” said Simmons about Pollard’s captaincy.
When queried what would be a defendable total considering the batting-friendly conditions at the Wankhede stadium, Simmons said: “We have seen in the IPL and international cricket that totals over 200 can be chased here, it is that sort of ground. You never know how much you have to (score) when you are batting first. There is a lot to think about in this match because there is the dew factor too, and also you don’t know what is a good score when you are batting first.”