MANCHESTER, July 15: West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes that the extended preparations after early arrival due to COVID-19 protocols have actually played a key part in his side�s four-wicket win over England in the first Test at Southampton.
West Indies, who arrived in England on June 9 and trained in a bio-secure environment after that, beat the home side by four wickets on Sunday on the final day of the first Test after the COVID-19 outbreak to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
�I think that has been the biggest influence on the performance. The fact that we�ve been here for that period of time, we�ve had quality bowling in the nets because we�ve had nearly 11 seamers here, you can�t put a price on that,� he said on the eve of the second Test starting at Old Trafford on Thursday.
�I don�t like to go back into my (playing) days, but we would come to England and play something like three or four proper warm-up games before the first Test, and we would also have three-day or four-day games in between the Test matches. So I think that period of training goes a long way to how we performed in that first Test.�
While praising the resolve of his players in the first Test, especially Jermaine Blackwood�s decisive 95 on the final day and Shannon Gabriel�s nine-wicket haul in the match, Simmons warned the West Indies cricketers to guard against complacency.
�For me it was a great win because I think that it signified a lot of hard work being done by the players over the last four or five weeks. It was a top-class Test match, with good cricket played by both teams, and even coming down to the last hour, it could have gone either way. � PTI