TOURING West Indies will be a dangerous wounded lion in the two-match Test series with Zimbabwe and will take no prisoners against the hosts, captain Kraigg Brathwaite has declared.
The Windies were thoroughly outplayed by Australia at the end of last year, heavily losing the Frank Worrell Trophy 2-0 Down Under.
Skipper Brathwaite, who leads the West Indies in Tests, said this week that a strong desire to make amends for the poor Australia tour will propel the Caribbean side all guns blazing in Bulawayo early February.
The 15-man squad and support staff landed in Zimbabwe’s second largest city on Monday ahead of the clash.
“The guys are very happy to be here. We look forward to a hard contested series,” Brathwaite told Trinidad & Tobago newspaper NewsDay from Bulawayo.
“Zimbabwe are at home and play well at home so we can’t take them for granted. I think that’s the main thing we’re going to stress on. Pretty much play 10 days of solid, hard cricket. We have to go out there and think we’re playing the number one team in the world. We really got to push ourselves and fight hard and get ready for the South Africa tour after, so it’s a great way to start the tour.”
Barbadian Brathwaite – who was part of the Windies team that won the series 1-0 in Bulawayo back in 2017 when the two sides last clashed in the five-day format – is expecting the same slow and low surface on which his team has often been vulnerable.
“The last time (2017) the surface was a bit slow so it takes a lot of time to get accustomed to the surface. It’s quite similar to the Caribbean, the slowness of the pitch,” said the 30-year-old batsman.
“We have a practice game coming up, which is good, so we’ll see what we can get from the pitches. Even though there may be some slowness on the deck, I know the batsmen would be unfearful.
“It’s all about discipline mixed with aggression. The pitch didn’t offer much to the pacers last time, but the pacers did well. Once we mix that tight aggression with the pace, I think there’s something for the pacers. I really look forward to a big team effort.”
Interim West Indies coach Andre Coley wants his players to get back their mojo in the Zimbabwe series ahead of a tougher assignment against South Africa. After completing the two Tests in Bulawayo, the Windies will take the short flight to South Africa for a multi-format contest against the Proteas.
“It’s good to finally be in Zimbabwe after a couple days of travel. We’re very excited. This tour offers opportunities individually as players, but also as a team, for us to regain confidence and to be at our best,” said Coley.
Queens Sports Club will host both Bulawayo Tests, with the first starting on 4 February and the second on the 12th.