Batting will be key, says Reifer
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.