Head coach says enough high-quality preparation is lacking away from international cricket
“In that first Test match, we got caught playing away from our bodies a lot and when a wicket is doing as much as it did in that Test match, then that is to your detriment and we saw that in being bowled out for 97,” Simmons said.
The conditions were bowler-friendly, with plenty of movement through the air and off the seam and good bounce on offer, and though Simmons mentioned that West Indies actually wanted to host South Africa on the slower surfaces in Trinidad, he did not bemoan conditions in St Lucia and said the groundskeeper has been “very helpful,” in providing what West Indies asked for. “Maybe the pitch for the first Test match had a little more moisture than we expected. The pitch for the second Test match, we got what we wanted.”
And the performance in the second Test was marginally better. “A few of the guys came back from that and in the second Test match we saw a few of the guys getting 40s and 50s but at the same time, we needed to assess the whole situation of the game and know we need to be tight for a while to put pressure on them. When they got two wickets, they just ran through us.”
West Indies scored two hundreds and six fifties against Sri Lanka, and one hundred and six fifties against Bangladesh, so Simmons knows the ability is there, but the players need to find form. He said the amount of cricket and the training set-ups on different islands have hindered the consistency of the upskilling the players can do.
“When we leave a tour we always have to go and work on things. Tours come up quickly these days so little things we have to correct come up again and again. We had done some work on facing spin, and now we need to do some work on fast bowling,” he said. “I don’t think high quality preparation is happening enough in the territories. A lot of players come to us and we step up the intensity. More needs to be done in the territories. But that is something we have been saying for a long time.”
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent