BROOKLYN, NY – Head coach Phil Simmons has praised Kraigg Brathwaite’s astute leadership during the recent opening. Test in Chattogram, pointing out his handling of the bowlers was a testament to his ability to inspire.
The seasoned opener was asked to lead the weakened 15-man squad for the two-match tour here after regular captain Jason Holder declined selection due to COVID-19 fears and playing fatigue.
And he presided over a historic win last Sunday as West Indies stunned Bangladesh by three wickets after chasing down 395 on the final day at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
“I personally think he was excellent in this Test match,” Simmons said in his assessment of Brathwaite.
“I like his demeanor and how he carried things on the field. And I’m especially happy for him because the last time he came down here [in 2018], he was captain, and they were beaten relatively easily.
“So, I am extremely happy for him that he could come back and win a Test and do well himself, especially how he batted in the first innings.”
He continued: “I haven’t had to say that much to Kraigg because I think he knows the conditions down here, he knows what he needed from his bowlers, and that’s where the leadership came in.
“The bowlers knew exactly what he needed from them, and they went out there to do it, so I think in this game, his captaincy was excellent.”
Brathwaite’s previous trip proved a nightmare as West Indies lost both Tests inside three days, ironically with a stronger squad.
His personal form also suffered the right-hander, managing only 22 runs from four innings. The tour seemed to trigger an overall decline for Brathwaite, who then went 12 innings without a single fifty.
Brathwaite’s top score of 76 in the first innings last weekend also set tongues wagging, the Barbadian dispensing with his now characteristic guarded approach to run-scoring to unfurl an attacking element to his game, which saw him strike a dozen fours off just 111 balls.
And having seen the attacking adjustments to Brathwaite’s batting, Simmons said he believed the improvements were here to stay.
“I think his evolution is in that direction. I think the way he has been practicing [suggests that], and Kraigg is no stranger to hard work where his batting is concerned, and he’s been putting in the work and putting himself under pressure to score, to do the right things, to be in the right positions,” Simmons pointed out.
“I was glad to see that approach, and I think that’s something he is evolving to, and long may it continue because I think when you see him in that aggressive mood, it’s not just about playing shots – it’s about picking the right shots, and I think the first innings showed that.”