DELHI – Lendl Simmons, the Trinidad & Tobago batsman, has said that Brian Lara’s presence in the squad has had a positive impact on the players, who stormed through to the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20, beating Chennai Super Kings yesterday in style.
Lara, one of the greatest batsmen to have played the game, is travelling with the West Indian team and has acted as a mentor to the young players, some of whom have not yet played international cricket.
“When he’s around, the team has a different vibe and everybody buzzes with positive energy. When he talks, we all listen. So far whatever he’s told us has benefited our team. Although he has not played too much T20 cricket, he helps us a lot in terms of understanding the process of going about your batting.
“He reads the game so well and that helps us form our strategies too. He lets us know when the time is right to attack and when we need to take it easy. We are also learning that art of reading the game from him”, Simmons said.
Simmons picked up two wickets to help restrict Chennai to a paltry 118 before finishing unbeaten on 63 as T&T coasted home with 29 balls remaining. The Man-Of-The-Match in the last league game of the tournament said he wanted to give himself some time before opening up against Chennai’s star-studded bowling attack.
“I think I was a bit unlucky in the last couple of games; once I got an inside edge and played on to my wicket and the other time I got caught behind. Today I decided to give myself a chance by grafting in the beginning before playing my shots. Later on the ball came on to the bat. It did keep a bit low, but overall it was a good performance.
“It is a good feeling. We came here with one purpose that was to win. We’re playing some good cricket at the moment and w have been pretty consistent so far,” Simmons said.
Simmons picked up two wickets apiece in two straight games and underlined his role as a valuable all-rounder and insisted he enjoyed bowling more than the occasional stints as the wicketkeeper: “I like keeping wickets, but I favour bowling more. Also, I love fielding. I have been given an opportunity to bowl in the last two games and it has been good so far. Hopefully, the captain has the confidence to give me the ball regularly.”