Chief selector Courtney Browne has warned that West Indies should brace for a difficult tour of England this summer but says the young regional side should use the experience as a learning curve in building for the future.
West Indies face the hosts in a three-Test tour starting in August but have not won a series in England in 29 years and have lost all but one of the seven overall within the last 17 years.
With limited overs series against minnows Afghanistan next month and India in July, Browne said it was hoped these outings could provide some momentum for the Windies ahead of the England trip.
“I think Afghanistan for us, we’re looking for our guys to do very well against Afghanistan,” said the former West Indies wicketkeeper, who took over his current role from the legendary Clive Lloyd last June.
“Against India … we would like our side to be showing we can compete with the top-ranked teams. That’s very, very important for us. On that, going into England, it will give the guys much more confidence.”
He continued: “But the England tour is going to be a tough tour. There are many, many cricketers who went to England for the first time, a lot of good cricketers who went to England for the first time and didn’t do well.
“But the one thing we are seeing from this bunch is that they are hungry, they work very hard and we can see the fight in them so we are wishing them all the best. With the work that the coaching staff is doing, we think we have a core group here we can work with.”
Once the kings of world cricket, West Indies are currently ranked number eight in the ICC Test rankings, following a string of poor results in recent years.
They have lost their last six series and won just two of their last 17 Tests, with their most recent defeat coming in a 2-1 loss in a three-Test series to Pakistan earlier this month.
West Indies entered the final Test in Dominica with the series level 1-1 and carried the contest down to the final day before losing by 101 runs with a single over left at Windsor Park.
Despite the loss, Browne pointed to the gutsy performance as proof the mentality in the Windies set-up was changing for the better.
“One thing about it (defeat): it has shown the fans that here’s a bunch of young people who are actually showing some fight,” said Browne, who played 20 Tests and 46 one-dayers for West Indies.
“I think what it would have done for the players is show them that with that determination, with that passion that they can actually be competitive and I think it is important.
“You look at the loss – and nobody wants to lose – it showed the fight and if you look at the last number of batters who you would call tail-enders, they really dug in and they worked really hard out there with young Roston Chase, so I think they are a lot of positives to come from that.”