WI vs SA: West Indies host a struggling South Africa at home for a two-match Test series and 5-match T20I series with an eye on the first-ever Test series win against Proteas. But ahead of the 1st match on Thursday, coach Phil Simmons believes to beat the likes of Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen and others, West Indies’ pace attack must improve.
“The improvement I would like to see for this series is our ability to take 20 wickets. We did in Bangladesh on helpful pitches, and when the pitch was not helpful in Antigua (against Pakistan), we struggled. Our fast bowling department has been strong for long now. They are the ones that have kept us in matches, bowling out teams when it did not appear likely,” Phil Simmons said.
On a seam-friendly track at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia, West Indies might have an opportunity to tame South Africa who are in transition after several senior players including Faf du Plessis retired from Test cricket. However, it will an equal challenge for West Indies who are without their star players like Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard in Test cricket. Furthermore, South African pace bowling led by Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.
However, despite being depleted, South Africa still have the likes of Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock and an in-form Rassie van der Dussen besides Aiden Markram. They will challenge West Indies’ bowling.
“Any team you come up against, you have to look for where you can exploit them. They are very strong at the top with the captain (Dean Elgar) and then later down the order with guys like (Quinton) de Kock. We have to step it up and be 100% better than we were when we played our last game. We are up to six (in the test rankings) and that is just the start of things. We want to be up at the top and we have to play as though we want to be there,” Phil Simmons said.
As for the series, South Africa will have the edge based on the head-to-head records. The West Indies have won only three Test matches so far with the last victory in 2007. The last time the two sides faced in Tests was back in 2015 in South Africa with the hosts winning 2-0 in 3-match Test series.