Windies’ Shamarh Brooks has stated that even though the bowlers raised their game in the practice match, the batting unit is ready to lift their game in the series opener in Southampton. Brooks has also added that spending time at the crease will be key to success in the English conditions.
In the Intra-Squad practise match between Team Holder vs Team Brathwaite, Windies batting line-up, comprising Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope and Roston Chase, were tested to the tilt, and the game exposed their batting frailties ahead of the series opener against England.
While Brathwaite, Hope, and Brooks scored fifties in the first tour game, in the second game, the likely top-five of the Windies side Brathwaite, John Campbell, Brooks, Shai Hope and Roston Chase added a total of 29 runs between them. That led to Windies assistant coach Roddy Estwick to claim that batsmen's lack of time in the middle was one of his "biggest worries". However, Brooks felt that it can all come down to how they perform during the main event.
"Clearly our bowling will be our strength and has been for the past couple of years. If you look at our batting, when we do get it right as a unit we have won games. That's why I'm stressing on the point that we need to bat well, especially against a team like England at home, who are going to be very challenging,” Brooks was quoted as saying by Cricinfo.
"The coach, I guess he would feel that way because of what he saw in the last game, where the bowlers really raised the intensity and we fell down. But I still don't feel that, when we come to the Test series, it will go that way. We need to apply ourselves, stick to the basics and stick to our gameplans.
"Some of us got the opportunity to bat and spend time at the crease. It's still a batsman or bowlers game [and] our bowlers bowled well, especially in the second game, our Test bowlers really came with a different intensity. It's good to get out there and have a practice game but I think we are backing our preparation to bring success in this series."
Windies will draw inspiration from their Headingley heroics three years ago and how they decimated the English batting line-up in their return tour of Windies in 2018-19. While there have been concerns over Jason Holder’s fitness, wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich sat out this week's warm-up match after suffering a side strain. Brooks, however, added that spending time at the crease will be key for the Windies once the series gets rolling.
"The guys have been working very, very hard. We know the English bowling attack is a good one, [but] once we bat well, I think we have a very good chance. Spending time at the crease will be key and as long as we apply ourselves, spend some time out there, it will get easier. We need as a batting unit to stand up in this series and make the difference.
"I think we've had enough time to prepare. We've been here three-four weeks now, we've had two practice games, and I think the intensity in those practice games was decent. But having said that, we just came off the first-class season as well, so it's not like we are out of the woods in terms of not being in cricket form. I know three months [without cricket] might seem like a while, but I think the four weeks we have had here would be enough time to get ourselves back in shape and ready for this Test series."
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