Tuesday, April 16, 2024

I believe we can win, says Simmons


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ST GEORGE’S – New coach Phil Simmons and opener Devon Smith believe the West Indies can compete against England and even win the three-match series following a commendable draw in the first Test in Antigua.

“We believe we can win, and we will play to win. We know the areas where we need to improve and what is required to win,” Simmons told the West Indies Cricket Board’s website.

“We saw a really good display on the final day which earned us a draw. We had some good moments in the first match and as a team we will look to improve when we play the second Test,” Simmons added.

Smith, who is poised to become the first Grenadian to play a Test on home soil, reckons that batting out the entire last day to save the first Test after being set 438 for victory has strengthened West Indies’ self-belief.

“The guys … are looking forward to the second Test. To bat a whole day and save a Test match is amazing,” Smith told reporters here yesterday.

“A lot of fans expected us to lose but having said that, the guys went out there and believed in themselves and performed to the best of their ability and came up with a draw.

“Sometimes it’s good to be the underdogs because you have nothing to lose but something to prove. So we have no pressure on us, it’s England who has the pressure … they said in the press they would win the series 3-0.

“It motivates not just me but the whole team to go out there and prove them wrong in what they’ve said. You just have to go out there and perform to the best of our ability.”

Smith played a key role in the first Test result, scoring 65 but the 33-year-old left-hander, whose 37-Test career has been a chequered one, said he was now coming into his own and was more sorted mentally.

“I think sometimes before I used to put myself under unnecessary pressure wondering about getting dropped. Now it’s different, I just go out there and express myself,” Smith said.

Once he is selected for the second Test which bowls off here Tuesday, Smith will become the first Grenadian to play a Test before his home crowd, an honour he is looking forward to.

“It will be a dream come true because I know my whole family will be here to support me and I hope they will be here even before the first ball is bowled. At least that will motivate me to go forward and do great things,” he said.

With only two Tests ever played at the Grenada National Stadium, there is some apprehension over what the pitch will serve up but Smith said that he believed it would be one where both bowlers and batsmen could thrive.

“I think it’s a good wicket to bat on. On the fourth and fifth day the ball may turn a little bit but having said that I think it is a great wicket to bat on as long as you apply yourself and concentrate on what you have to do, you’re going to get results,” he pointed out.

“You’ll have to work hard for your wickets …as long as you put something in you’re going to get some results. If you bowl well you will get wickets and if you bat good you will get runs.” (CMC)


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