The Test captain says they reviewed their 2018 defeat in Bangladesh to find out where they could toughen
A day after coach Phil Simmons raised optimism for the West Indies ODI side, Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite said the side has learnt from the mistakes made all the way through their 2018 tour to Bangladesh.
Brathwaite’s own depressing form in that series – just 22 runs in the two Tests – used to be one of the vital reasons why the visitors capitulated so easily. With the home side having their full complement of spinners to be had this time too, and West Indies having an even more inexperienced side, there will be even more responsibility on Brathwaite. He hasn’t had the most efficient of times recently too, having made just 55 runs in two Tests in New Zealand Tests final month.
Brathwaite wants to lead by example and set a foundation as a batsman, the key to which, he said, would be balance at the crease.
“I need to lead from the front,” Brathwaite said. “It is my job as an opening batsman to receive runs and build a foundation for the team. I don’t see the guys here as second string. I think they may be able to perform and do polite at the international level. I realize they’re on the lookout for the possibility.
“For me, being balanced at the crease is the key if I am playing spin and pace. It used to be decent in England, there used to be improvement in New Zealand as polite. I need to just stick to my plans. Retain it simple. I don’t need to take into accounts too many things. I realize my plans. Put God first, and consider in yourself.”
With the exception of being their most experienced Test cricketer on tour, Brathwaite also has the maximum sub-continent experience with 15 Tests. A number of the already depleted batting unit, Jermaine Blackwood and John Campbell combine only six Tests in this region, while the remainder of the batsmen are either uncapped or have never played Tests in the sub-continent.
“We reviewed after the final series and found out where we could have improved,” Brathwaite said. “We have particular plans that we can carry out. We look forward to the challenge. You must find ways to triumph over challenges in international cricket. Their spinners did polite final time. We need to implement and consider in ourselves. Accept as true with our preparations.”
Brathwaite believes that strike rotation and a solid defence will be key for their batsman. He said that he can rely on his opening partner Campbell to bat according to the conditions, while maintaining his own batting pace intact.
“I think the rotation of strike will be key. John [Campbell] is a very good player. When we went to India to play Afghanistan, he got a fifty in the first innings. He didn’t change his approach in the second one innings as polite. I will be able to encourage him to be himself and to believe his gameplan. His defence is solid; down here you’ll have to defend more balls than you get the possibility to attack.
“Once he trusts his defence, rotate when he could, he’s going to do polite. He got a score in his final Test innings in New Zealand, so he will have to have that belief. I realize that he has the ability. Once he plays his natural game, I realize John will also be an incredible opener for the West Indies.”
Brathwaite said that winning in Bangladesh is still conceivable for his side, but they should be patient. “If you end up leading a team, you need to win. My role here is to lead from the front, both as a captain and with the bat. It is going to be great to receive the win. We need to start hour by hour, we will be able to’t think too far ahead. Once we take it step-by-step, the end result will maintain itself.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84