THE West Indies will be looking to fine-tune their skills when they play a four-day intra-squad match bowling off today, at their “bio-secure” base at Emirates, Old Trafford.
It will be the Caribbean team’s final preparation ahead of the their Wisden Trophy defence against hosts England with the first Test starting on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl, in Southampton.
It will also be an opportunity for some of the 11 reserves to make their last appeal for selection, following up on the first three-day practice match —the team’s first action in three months due to the Covid-19 lockdown—which ended in a draw last Thursday.
With the bat, Shane Dowrich (56 no), Shamarh Brooks (66 no) and Shayne Moseley (83 no) spent fair time in the middle as did top-order batsmen
Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope (84 and 83, respectively) and Sunil Ambris (52). Roston Chase and John Campbell also got some much-needed time at the crease, with scores of 49 and 37, respectively.
The bowlers dominated the first two days of the three-day affair with Shannon Gabriel (3/32) and Alzzari Joseph (4/60) shining on the opening day and Raymon Reifer (5/60) stealing the spotlight on the second with a five-wicket haul.
For Joseph, this second warm-up game is a chance to continue his solid form.
“It is an opportunity to get more overs under my belt and spend some more time in the middle out here to get used to the conditions. I’m just looking to stay consistent. I think I bowled pretty well (in the first warm-up match) so I’m just looking to repeat what I did in the last game,” Joseph said, crediting his improving game on more consistent, accurate training and increased strength and conditioning.
“Ever since the start of my career, I’ve been working closely with Winston Benjamin and even now he’s the one I look to for advice to get more knowledge of the game,” added Joseph.
Captain Jason Holder, the current number one all-rounder in Test cricket according to the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings, is expected to do some bowling in this final warm-up match after failing to bowl in the second innings of last week’s practice match. He was out without scoring in the first innings and wasn’t required to bat in the second.
Coach Simmons had indicated there was no undue cause for concern. “Jason has had a slight niggle on his ankle and that is what has held him back from bowling,” Simmons said. “He will be back to bowling in the four-day game and should be bowling his full quota. As for the batting if you get one ball and you’re out, that’s all you can do.”
TEST SQUAD: Jason Holder (capt), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.
RESERVE PLAYERS: Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican.
Test Series: 1st Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton – July 8-12; 2nd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester – July 16-20; 3rd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester – July 24-28