West Indies stand-in Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite believes though several key players are missing, his side still has the capacity, to win the two-match series. Brathwaite’s captaincy itself is as a result of regular captain Jason Holder opting not to go on tour because of the COVID-19 threat. First choice players such as Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Shane Dowrich all turned down the opportunity to travel to Asia for the series.
The Windies will have their first practice session on Thursday after all the players tested negative for COVID-19.
The 28-year-old is backing his team in the face of adversity as he believes his side has the hunger required for success. He said at his first virtual press conference in Dhaka on Wednesday that: “I think I have a very good team. Yes, we’re missing some of the senior guys, but I know this team is still capable of winning Test matches and doing well for the West Indies. Some of the guys are hungry to perform for the West Indies. Some of these guys haven’t played for a while and I know they want to do well. It’s just for me to lead from the front with both the decisions on the field and as a batsman.”
This will be the second time in four years Brathwaite will skipper the West Indies. In November 2017, he was named Test captain for the second Test against New Zealand, replacing Jason Holder who was suspended for one match, becoming the 37th Test captain of the regional side. He added, “My role here is to lead from the front, both as the captain and with the bat. Obviously, it would be great to get my first Test win as captain, but we must start hour by hour, we can’t think too far ahead. We must plan first and then we must go out there and execute so once we take it step by step the end result will take care of itself. I’m looking forward to that first Test win, but it takes steps to get there.”
Brathwaite admitted it’s going to be a totally new adjustment for him from the quick pitches in New Zealand he played on before Christmas, however, the Barbadian believes he can adapt fast. He stated, “New Zealand and Bangladesh present totally different conditions, but the principles still remain. In terms of batsmanship, whether forward or defence, being balanced at the crease is always key whether you’re playing spin or pace. In England, I did it decently. In New Zealand I had some improvement as well, so for me, despite down here being more spin I think being balanced at the crease will be key.”
<Super50 crucial for international season>
Head of Operations at Cricket West Indies (CWI) Roland Holder says if regional cricket doesn’t take place in the Caribbean in the next few months, it will hurt the Caribbean’s chances of hosting international cricket this year. The former West Indies cricketer told the Mason and Guest programme on the Voice of Barbados on Tuesday, “The Regional Super50 is slated for February but if that doesn’t come off it will certainly hamper our international chances of because we have proposed a pretty busy summer.”
CWI has proposed Sri Lanka tours the Caribbean in March, South Africa in June, Australia in July and Pakistan in August. Holder stressed the importance of using the regional set-up as a blueprint for the upcoming international season. He said, “A lot depends on what is happening regionally as it relates to COVID and how we can produce bio-secure bubbles so it’s a work in progress. We are very conscious of the fact that if we don’t get these bubbles right it will cause problems for us to host international matches hence, we are taking every measure to ensure that we get this right.”