Simmons confident WI will find top form in World Cup

October 12, 2021

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons is hoping that his side can hit the ground running and find their tournament form early as the regional side gets ready to defend the ICC T20 World Cup title they won back in 2016.

With just over 10 days before the regional side bows into action against England, Simmons says team chemistry and the ability to bond quickly will be the key to success for the side.

"That is one of the things that we need to get, a bonding of the team and the squad. Once we have that bonding and understanding of our roles, we will do well in the tournament," said Simmons.

The last time the West Indies lifted the trophy, it was the four sixes heroics from Carlos Brathwaite off the final Ben Stokes over and a resolute unbeaten knock of 85 from Jamaican Marlon Samuels that saw the Darren Sammy-led side over the line in the final against England in 2016.

It was also Samuels who came up with the goods in the 2012 final, scoring 78 against Sri Lanka to help the West Indies win their first T20 title.

With Samuels not around this time and mostly power hitters in the side, Simmons was questioned if there is any player in this current squad that can replicate that finisher role that Samuels played so admirably in 2012 and 2016.

"We have a lot of players who can play roles like that. Yes, we have power hitters, but we still have people like Lendl (Simmons), Shimron (Hetmyer), who has batted through innings. We have Dwayne Bravo, who went up a few innings, and Roston Chase in the squad, so there are quite a few players who can step up. Who we decide to take up that mantle, we will see as the tournament goes on," added Simmons.

In the meantime, Simmons says he and his medical staff have been keeping a close eye on the fitness of big-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell, who is said to be recovering from a hamstring injury.

Russell has missed the last couple of matches for his Indian Premier League franchise the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), but Simmons says 'Dre Russ' could be back to full fitness sooner rather than later.

"We have been in constant contact with our medical team and KKR, and he has been batting in the nets and running at a certain level, so he is close enough to full fitness."

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