West Indies captain also confident that Holder and Bravo, who missed the Bangladesh tour, will fit in seamlessly
In a recent change, West Indies appointed opener Kraigg Brathwaite as full-time Test captain following a memorable 2-0 win in Bangladesh under his leadership. That series saw massive contributions from newcomers Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner and Joshua Da Silva, albeit some of them found a place in the side only because regulars like the then Test captain Jason Holder and the experienced Darren Bravo had opted out of the tour.
Now with Sri Lanka set to play two Tests against West Indies starting with the first game in Antigua from Sunday, Brathwaite – now permanently in charge of the side – and his team management will have Holder and Bravo back, leaving them with a happy headache.
“The two of them are quality international cricketers and we know what they can give [to the side],” he said in a media interaction. “Jason is the No. 1 allrounder in the world and Darren Bravo is a quality batsman. So they will fit in – [it will be] quite normal to be honest.”
West Indies may be close to having their best side together for the Sri Lanka series, but Brathwaite wants them approach to the upcoming Tests the same way they did in Bangladesh.
“We have a good group [of players] and as I said from [the] Bangladesh [squad], the team that went there was a good team,” he said. “And I think here [also] it is pretty much the same. As a team we came together nicely – we came from Bangladesh while some came from the 50-over [domestic competition], and we’ve gelled nicely as a team. So for me, it is the pretty much the same.
“We have the same attitude [like what we had in Bangladesh], the same determination and the same fight, and we want to keep that discipline. As a Test team, we are on a great path with guys going and grabbing opportunities to score runs, and on a great path to play teams in the Test arena.”
One aspect that stood out for West Indies during their Test series in Bangladesh was the way their batsmen handled the hosts’ spinners. Bangladesh played four spinners – including the left-arm spin of the veteran Shakib Al Hasan and Taijul Islam, and offspinners Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Nayeem Hasan – in the first Test where West Indies chased down a massive 395 on the final day.
Sri Lanka have also arrived with their own bunch of spinners, having at their disposal the variety provided by left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga and offspinner Dhananjaya de Silva. But Brathwaite sounded confident of repeating what his side did in Bangladesh, and wanted his batsmen to “trust themselves”.
“We came from Bangladesh facing a lot of spin throughout the whole day [of a Test],” he said at the prospect of facing spin for a long duration. “So pretty much the plans won’t change; I just want the guys to trust themselves. We came out with different plans how we want to go about each bowler – whether a pacer or a spinner – and the main thing is that we are not taking it for granted. We’re not thinking that we won’t get spin here. They have some quality spinners, but we have plans to go about each bowler and we’re going to trust them 100% – as simple as that.
“In terms of the combination, we’ll decide a little later. But the team is ready to go to be honest. They’re confident, there’s intensity in the nets.”