Come tomorrow, Southampton will be the centre stage as it hosts the England vs West Indies 1st Test LIVE. While both teams are busy with the penultimate preparation, West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes getting England skipper Ben Stokes out early will be key in deciding their chances of winning.
The opening Test will be a battle between two all-rounder captains in which Simmons expects Jason Holder to “get on top” of his England counterpart Ben Stokes.
“Ben is one of them who leads from the front. That’s been shown by all his exploits before in cricket, (so) we will have to make sure that we get onto him very early, because he likes to do what is necessary for his team.”
Holder and Stokes are both amongst the leading top all-rounders in the world. Ben Stokes, however, takes over the rein from regular captain Joe Root who will miss the opening ‘bio-secure’ Test for the birth of his second child.
The 57-year-old also doesn’t necessarily see Root’s absence as an advantage. Simmons also said he is not worried about his batting unit as they will have to produce the goods in all three facets of the game to outwit England at home.
Batting is the weakest link for the West Indies team, which had lost the opening Test against England in Birmingham by an innings and 209 runs during their last tour in 2017 due to batting failure. Simmons said the batsmen have prepared well and it is all about mindset now.
The three-Test England vs West Indies series begins with the opening match at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday and will mark the resumption of international cricket following the coronavirus hiatus.