West Indies head coach Phil Simmons will be hoping that the enthusiasm and hunger of his players will be able to trump the experience of the Bangladesh side in their upcoming ODI and Test match series.
The West Indies have made the trip without some of their top stars as ten players, including ODI captain Kieron Pollard and Test skipper Jason Holder declined the opportunity to tour.
Asked about coming up against an experienced Bangladesh line-up, Simmons said at on online news conference yesterday he had a “balanced team” and that “sometimes experience plays a part but sometimes enthusiasm trumps experience.”
“We do have a few experienced players but the enthusiasm and the hunger sometimes you have to ask for that to trump experience, so hopefully that’s what happens this time,” Simmons insisted.
“You might say we don’t have our full team but at the same time we have a team here who is hungry and wants to do well and who is eager to play in these conditions and to fight and scrap in these conditions,” he continued.
The West Indies have not had the best of records against Bangladesh in Bangladesh, having lost a two-Test series to the Shakib Al Hasan-led side on their previous trip there in 2018.
In terms One-Day Internationals, Bangladesh have won eight of the last ten matches played between the two teams since 2018. Simmons acknowledged that it will be a “hard” series but insisted that the visitors will again be going for it as they try to start off a packed year of cricket with a much-needed victory.
“The first aim is to win the series. I think it is going to be a hard series because it is always hard when you are away from home. The preparation is going to be important and I think once we prepare well then we have an opportunity to win the Test matches here,” he added.
Simmons also believes the team is motivated enough to spring a surprise against the “favourites” and urged the players to grab the opportunity to cement their place in the squad.
“Bangladesh are clearly favourites because they are home and they play well at home, so they are clearly favourites and we can’t argue with that,” he said.
“The thing is that it is not hard to motivate these guys. I think everyone here is hungry for success and everybody here wants to seal their place in the team. We have a long year of cricket ahead and everybody wants to be part of it. I think everyone is highly motivated and ready to put their best foot forward,” said Simmons.
“Preparations for the World Cup, it’s the start. We are playing in the tournament to qualify for the World Cup so this is the start. My rule and my message to all the players here is that you are not here to fill in,” he insisted.
“I think you are here to give yourself a chance. You have a chance now to seal your place in this team if you do well here, that augurs well for you. You come here and do well in the three ODI games and two Test matches and then you are putting yourself in a place where nobody can move you and only you have that opportunity,” Simmons noted.
“When we went to England, we carried 25 players and we’ve seen a couple of young players come through from that and we’ve seen a couple of young players on this tour that we didn’t know before, so this opens up the pool and like I said before some of the places are in the players’ hands. If they do well here, they can put themselves in line to play most of these series coming up,” he added.
“It is definitely not easy to be away from home in times like this for any of us but at the same time the two series we’ve had, when we got there everything was given. Every effort was put into the series and preparations were done in the right way. We might not have had the results we wanted but we’ve put everything into it and it is going to be the same for this series,” Simmons ended.