Kemar Roach, Phil Simmons optimistic about West Indies’ chances against England

West Indies pacer Kemar Roach and coach Phil Simmons have expressed optimism about the Caribbean side’s chances of winning the upcoming three-match Test series against England in July.

After the game was distrupted in March due to coronavirus pandemic, the international cricket is all set to resume with the three-match Test series between West Indies and England from July 8 at `bio-secure` venues of Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

In the last series between the two sides, the Caribbean team defeated England at home in the first couple of Tests to clinch the series before slumping to defeat in the final match in 2019.

Strong bowling performances was the major factor behind West Indies’ win and the side is now hoping to replicate a similar kind of show against England in their backyard as well.

Commenting on the upcoming series, Roach admitted that it is always tough to play in England, but added West Indies stand a great chance to clinch victory if they don’t change their mode of attack.

“Different conditions obviously to the Caribbean, the ball does a little bit more in England so we have to adjust our plans, obviously devise a great plan to go against the English batsmen but I don’t think our mode of attack is going to change much.You saw it in the Caribbean and it’s pretty fresh in our minds,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) quoted Roach as saying. 

“It’s always going to be tough to play in England but I think once you get stuck into them we stand a great chance of beating them. Our plan was always to make it tough for the England batsmen. I think we did that fantastically well. Once you can execute that again here, I don’t see any reason why you can’t cause trouble and get over the English batsmen,” he added.

Shannon Gabriel was one of the key exploits for West Indies in the 2019 series.He is currently travelling with the Caribben squad as a reseve player for the England Tests.

Gabriel is coming fresh off a knee injury and his inclusion in the main squad could be made ahead of the commencement of the series based on his fitness level.

Simmons said that Gabriel is a senior player in the squad and his inclusion will definitely benefit the national squad.

“His ability to hit the right length, he’s got good pace, higher 80s [mph] and his all-round stamina and his ability to bowl long spells – I think that gives him a lot of pluses in being a fast bowler and someone who can spend a long time in the West Indies cricket team. He has a lot of attributes that would make him one of the greats of West Indies cricket in the future,” Simmons said.

“The future of West Indies fast bowling is obviously in good hands with him around,” Roach, on the other hand, stated.

Following the series against West Indies, England will play a three-match Test series and as many T20 Internationals against Pakistan from July 30 

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Sagar Biswas

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