Simmons ready to make most of Test recall

Chittagong, Bangladesh — West Indies opener Lendl Simmons is looking to take his good form from the just concluded One-Day Series into the upcoming Test Series against Bangladesh and cement a spot at the top of the batting order.

The 26-year-old has been drafted into the Test squad as a replacement for Adrian Barath, who has not recovered from a hamstring injury. Simmons batted brilliantly in the One-Day Series, which the Windies won 2-1. He had scores of 102 and 80 – won the Man-of-the-Match award in the first game – and ended as the leading run-maker.

Speaking after Wednesday’s training session, Simmons said: “I’m happy to be called into the Test squad. It’s a good opportunity for me. It comes at a very good time as I’m in good form with the bat. I’m playing very well and feeling quite comfortable and confident. I had a good ODI Series so the aim is to kick on and get some big scores in the Test Series as well.

He added: “This is a chance for me to put everything right and look to cement a spot. It’s a matter of concentrating hard. When I get a start I know I have to look to build on that and make the most of every opportunity. I have made some big scores at first-class level so I know that in the long version of the game you have to be patient and build a foundation.

“Facing the new ball at this level is always a challenge but at this stage in my career I believe I am more mature and better able to handle the pressure situations. The main job is to assess the pitch, the conditions and the bowlers from early and look to get a start. After that you have to look to build and capitalise on those good starts. Test cricket gives you the opportunity and allows you the time to do just that.”

Simmons said he is fully aware of the challenges ahead against the Bangladesh bowlers in the two Test matches.

“Watching the pitch here in Chittagong it is quite different to the ones we played on in Dhaka. In Dhaka you were able to play your shots a lot more freely. The one here [Chittagong] was quite slow and the ball was gripping a bit on the surface and that made it a bit difficult for the batsmen to score. On this pitch you have to be very watchful and very patient. The key is to get a start and once you get in you can’t give it away. That will be my focus.”

The Windies were unable to train outdoors on Wednesday due to a damp field so they switched to the indoor nets. The Windies will have another training session on Thursday morning. The first Test will be at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. First ball on Friday is 9.30 am (11.30 pm Thursday Eastern Caribbean Time/10.30 pm Jamaica Time).

West Indies Test Squad: Darren Sammy (Captain), Carlton Baugh, Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards, Keiran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford, Lendl Simmons
Test Series Schedule
October 21-25: 1st Test at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
October 29-November 3: 2nd Test at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka

Thu, 10/20/2011 - 03:05