T20 series win against Sri Lanka would boost  confidence – Simmons

first_imgKANDY, Sri Lanka (CMC) – A victory for West Indies in the T20I series against Sri Lanka starting today will be just what the team need to go into their next assignment with much-needed confidence, says head coach Phil Simmons.The Caribbean side will be going up against the South Asian side here at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, just days after being whitewashed in the three-match ODI series.Speaking ahead of the two-match T20 series, Simmons said victory in today’s and Friday’s games will be a boost for the squad.“I think it will help us to gain confidence as a nation. West Indies cricket has always thrived on winning and if we win the series it takes us into the next series in a confident mode, so that’s the way we have to look at it – take it series by series,” he said yesterday.“Preparation has been good. We had training up to yesterday and everyone looked sharp and ready to go.”West Indies will be strengthened in the series with the inclusion of all-rounders Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo as well as Shimron Hetmyer in the 14-man squad.Russell was recalled after having not played for the side since being ruled out of the 50-over World Cup in June 2019.Hetmyer had been left out of the ODI squad after failing a fitness test.“He’s fit,” Simmons said of the left-handed batsman. “He passed the test and he has been here looking good and batting well. It’s good to have him join back the squad, so we look forward to what he produces tomorrow.”Oshane Thomas, who recently survived a car accident, is also on the team which is led by Kieron Pollard.Today’s game will be significant for the Windies skipper, as it will be his 500th T20.Simmons described that as “an amazing feat for someone who has had two knee reconstructions and other injuries”.“For him to still come back from those and get to 500 is enormous and something that he needs to be proud of,” the coach said.Pollard has accumulated 9 966 runs in the format so far and another 35 will make him the second player to score 10 000 T20 runs, after Chris Gayle who has made 13 296.West Indies and Sri Lanka have faced off only once in a bilateral series in the T20I format – a two-match series in 2015 in Sri Lanka which ended in a 1-1 draw. And West Indies have not won any of the five T20I series they’ve played since the start of last year.They lost all four series played in 2019 and drew the recent T20I series at home against Ireland 1-1, and only won three of the 15 matches they played across those five series.Looking ahead to the ICC World Cup which will begin in Australia in October, Simmons said the West Indies’ encounter with Sri Lanka this week will be a part of the two-time champions’ preparations for the big event.Although acknowledging that Windies would not be considered favourites going into the tournament, given their number 10 position in the ICC rankings, he said preparation is key.“I think we need to start our preparation from now and we need to build up how we want to play in the World Cup and start putting together a squad for the World Cup from now.“We still have about 12 or 13 games before the World Cup so I think that’s enough time for us to put together the right squad and with the experience we have in T20 cricket, it won’t be as hard as the ODI series,” Simmons said.West Indies Squad for two-match T20I series v Sri Lanka: Kieron Pollard (c), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams.last_img

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