With less than a week to go before the Test series against Bangladesh begins, Windies players are working and sweating hard in the nets.
The batters in the nets are trying out new things to counter the Bangladesh spinners and are working hard to improve their temperament.
West Indies batters will have to play the Bangladeshi spinners really well in order to survive or win these Test matches in the Asian subcontinents.
The West Indies team also has a practice match ahead of the Test series starting January 29 against Bangladesh President XI.
West Indies vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood is prepared to focus on the mental aspects of his game for now rather than the technical.
He posited that the types of pitches in Bangladesh are very slow and being mentally prepared is of paramount importance.
“These types of surfaces are very slow. So I have to [be prepared] mentally because technically, I can’t do too much work right now. But mentally, I know it is going to be very slow, and it will spin. Once mentally I am ready, I am good. Then everything takes care of itself,” said Blackwood.
“I am batting very good in the nets, so I am just looking forward to transferring that in the middle. I can’t really wait to just go out there and play some cricket. I have been in Bangladesh for a while now, so; I am just eager to go out and play some cricket,” he added.
Blackwood has revealed that he has taken some tips from International stars like Virat Kohli and Andre Russell.
On his conversation with Virat Kohli
“I don’t really have a lot of conversations with international players. I talked to Virat Kohli a few times as well on social media. The last time India toured the Caribbean, I had a chance to talk to him in Jamaica when I was there subbing. So, after the game, I just had a small conversation. I asked him about how all the time that I have a lot of half-centuries and one century. He just said, what will you do when you score a century? How many deliveries did you face? I said I faced 212 balls. He said, that’s it, once you can bat some balls, you’re gonna score runs,” said Blackwood.
“So, I took a big thing from that. After that conversation, I tell myself that once I can bat over 200 or 300 balls, the way I bat, I can score runs regardless of who I am playing against or where I am playing,” he added.
On his conversation with Russell.
“Me and Russell did a lot of talking. We are very close. I need to improve in kicking on and getting more hundreds. We mostly talk about my shot selections. When I started playing for the West Indies, I was young and excited. My style of batting was to play a lot of shots and put the bowlers under pressure,” said Blackwood.
“What I learned was that you can’t make a hundred in an over or two. You have to spend hours at the crease. I did a lot of talking with Russell, and he gave me a lot of pointers on what I needed to do. Not because just T20s. He only played one Test match, but he is a guy who knows his cricket,” he added.
Blackwood is confident that he can contribute and make a meaningful difference to the team with the bat and has backed other teammates to score and put up a big total on the board.
He touted the team’s preparation before the Test series and believed that they are ready to play ball.
Kemar Roach also foresees the West Indies putting up a better fight than in the ODI series.
“The one-day series didn’t go as well as we’d have liked. We have to understand it was a very young and inexperienced team. It was just a learning curve for those guys to take back home and learn from it, and improve their games to come back stronger,” said Roach in an interview.
He added that “Couple of the Test guys have been here before. We know what to expect. I expect the guys to give a better showing. Put up a better fight and win some games for the West Indies.”
Although it won’t be an easy task for the pace bowlers to generate pace, seam, and swing from these turning tracks, Roach backs the bowling unit and is placing a lot of confidence in young Alzarri Joseph to perform well in this tour.
“We have to be positive and execute our plans the best as we can. Bangladesh is always a tough tour. The guys are working hard for three weeks. We know what we have to do to put on a good score on the board and take 20 wickets in the match. It is about going out there and giving it our best shot and put in a good show,” Roach further said.
Despite missing some of their key players, this Test squad is expected to perform better than the ODI’s, considering the time they had to prepare for it.
January 28-30: three-day warm-up at M.A. Aziz Stadium, Chattogram
February 3-7: 1st Test Match at ZACS, Chattogram
February 11-15: 2nd Test Match at SBNCS, Dhaka
Note: These test matches will be part of the ICC Test Championship, although there is no chance of either of the teams qualifying for the final.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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