West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has emphasized that West Indies must know their final 15 or 16 players going into the T20 World Cup in India, which will be played later this year. He also added that Chris Gayle looks fitter than before while fast bowler Fidel Edwards has also done well.
2021 is the T20 World Cup year. Last year, the mega event couldn't take place due to COVID but this year, it will be taking place in India in October-November. West Indies will start their build-up for the World Cup soon as they lock horns with Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series starting from March 3. West Indies will enter this year's T20 World Cup as the defending champions as they were the last side to clinch the World Cup title in the shortest-format in 2016 that took place in India.
Most of the first-choice fit Windies players have been added to the squad for the Sri Lanka series, many of whom had earlier missed the Bangladesh white-ball series, due to COVID-19. Windies head coach Phil Simmons made it clear that the team will look to finalize the 15/16 players that will form the crux of the side going into the World Cup.
"When it comes to July or maybe the beginning of August, maybe the Pakistan series, we (want to) know exactly what the combinations are that we need to take to the World Cup because we have a fair idea of how the Indian grounds are what we are taking there. By the time we are playing Australia in some T20s in July, we must know who is our final 15 or 16 to go to the World Cup," Phil Simmons said, reported Cricbuzz.
Simmons also added that they need to identify the players who will be doing the job and delivering for the team when it matters.
"We need to start seeing how the make-up of our team goes. We need to make sure people are able to do the job that we want them to do, whether it is at the top of the batting order, the middle, or the end. And it is the same with bowling. We've got to identify as soon as possible who's going to bowl our new ball and who's going to bowl at the death and so it starts from now.
The upcoming T20I series will also mark the return of the 41-year-old Chris Gayle in the side. While fast bowler Fidel Edwards also makes a comeback to the side after a nine-year long-hiatus from international cricket. Simmons opined that Gayle looks fitter than before and has been batting well off late, besides praising the 39-year-old Fidel Edwards for his searing yorkers and raw pace.
"We see what Chris Gayle did in his last IPL stint. He shows that both with the bat and on the field, he looks fitter and feels better and he is still hitting the ball as we want to see him do it.
"We've seen Fidel in the last CPL and we have seen that he can still muster over 90mph with his searing yorkers, both at the top end and at the back end of the innings, so it is great to have the two of them with us."