Bat­ting will be key, says Reifer

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

BRIDGETOWN, BAR­BA­DOS (CMC): IN­TERIM BAT­TING coach Floyd Reifer be­lieves that once West Indies bats­men can pro­duce con­sis­tently, the Caribbean side can suc­cess­fully de­fend the cov­eted Wis­den Tro­phy and win their first se­ries in Eng­land in 32 years.

Point­ing to the likes of Ja­son Holder, ex­pe­ri­enced seamer Ke­mar Roach, and speed­ster Shan­non Gabriel, Reifer said the tourists had the core of a strong bowl­ing at­tack, and once the Windies bats­men could post chal­leng­ing to­tals, Eng­land could be placed un­der pres­sure.

“I think we can win the se­ries once we bat well,” said Reifer, who has re­placed Monty De­sai for this se­ries.

“Our bowl­ing is never an is­sue. We have the num­ber-one all­rounder in the world in cap­tain Ja­son Holder, Ke­mar Roach has been bowl­ing well, Shan­non Gabriel is back, young Che­mar Holder is a very good prospect for the future, Alzarri Joseph has been bowl­ing well along with [Rah­keem] Corn­wall.

“I think once we bat well and catch well, we’ll be very com­pet­i­tive and win the se­ries.”

West Indies’ last se­ries win came on the 1988 tour when Sir Vi­vian Richards’ side came away with a 4-0 ver­dict in a five-match se­ries.

And while the Caribbean side pulled off an as­ton­ish­ing vic­tory at Leeds in the last tour of Eng­land three years ago, they lost the two other Tests in­side three days to con­cede the se­ries.

Reifer stressed that while he ex­pected pitches to be good for bat­ting, seam-friendly con­di­tions are al­ways present in Eng­land, and the tour­ing side’s bats­men needed to make the nec­es­sary ad­just­ments.

“From what I’ve heard … it’s pretty sunny in Eng­land and there has not been a lot of cricket played over the last two months, but I think the weather is good … so I don’t think the con­di­tions will be a big is­sue,” the for­mer Test player added.

“We know we’re go­ing to Eng­land, we know the ball is go­ing to swing. It’s just a mat­ter of mak­ing the ad­just­ment, play­ing the ball at the eye level and as late as pos­si­ble, build­ing those part­ner­ships and play­ing as a team.”

Reifer, along with West Indies as­sis­tant coach Roddy Est­wick, re­cently over­saw two weeks of prepa­ra­tion for the Bar­ba­dian play­ers in the 25-man play­ing group at Kens­ing­ton Oval here.

The ses­sions marked the first out­door train­ing for play­ers fol­low­ing the gov­ern­menten­forced lock­down here due to the out­break of the COVID-19 pan­demic.


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