Phil Simmons: Sri Lanka series first step to finalise 'make-up of our team' for T20 World Cup



Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards have earned their recalls through solid performances, says West Indies coach

West Indies coach Phil Simmons feels that the key to success during the T20I series against Sri Lanka will be to adjust to the dimensions – one side smaller than the other – of Antigua’s Coolidge Cricket Ground as soon as possible. All three T20Is of the series will be played at the same venue, which is hosting international cricket for the first time.

Simmons is also looking at this series as a step to start firming up the squad for the T20 World Cup later this year.

“The key to winning the T20I series on this size of a ground is how we can limit their batsmen,” Simmons said. “There are two sides here, there is a big side and there is a small side. There is breeze. How early we access that and how we bowl to that is going to be the key because on these grounds we have batsmen right down the order who can hit the ball and we need ensure that we bowl well and we field well.”

“When it comes to July or maybe the beginning of August, maybe the Pakistan series, we (want to) know exactly what the combinations are that we need to take to the World Cup because we have a fair idea of how the Indian grounds are what we are taking there”

Phil Simmons

The series will also mark the return of Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards to the West Indies squad. Gayle last played for West Indies in the home series against India after the 2019 World Cup, while Edwards’ last international appearance was a Test in Bangladesh in 2012.

Before being named in the squad for the Sri Lanka series, Gayle had scored 107 runs in two innings at a strike rate of 167.18 for the Quetta Gladiators in the ongoing PSL. Prior to that, his contribution – 288 runs at an average of 41.14 and a strike rate of 137.14 – in the IPL 2020 had helped the Kings XI Punjab revive their sagging campaign.

The 39-year-old Edwards, meanwhile, picked up nine wickets in as many games at an economy of 7.66 in CPL 2020, where the pitches were mostly spin-friendly.

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