BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe – Vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite has warned the two-Test series against Zimbabwe will not be a straightforward one, and has urged his teammates to show the same self-belief and fighting spirit they displayed in their shock win over England at Headingley last August.
West Indies have never lost to the African nation in eight previous meetings, winning six and drawing two, but the obdurate opener said the hosts could prove a dangerous side, especially in their conditions.
“I think one of the main things for us is not to become complacent. I think Zimbabwe are a very good side especially at home,” Brathwaite said ahead of the opening Test starting Saturday.
“So for us, I really want us to go out there and fight, work with our processes and look to master our processes each time. The main thing is not to underestimate [them]. We need to go out there and fight and play tough cricket.”
West Indies have retained an unchanged squad from the England tour, as they look to build on the surprise success of the second Test when they stunned the hosts by five wickets.
The victory was their first in England in 17 years and marked a phenomenal comeback, especially coming just days after they suffered an innings crushing inside three days in the opening Test in Birmingham.
Brathwaite, who played a seminal role in the win with scores of 134 and 95, said it was critical West Indies stuck to the principles that brought them success at Headingley.
“One thing was that belief. Coming out of the first Test we didn’t play well and coming into the second game, we just had to believe,” Brathwaite explained.
“The conditions weren’t going to be easy but you had to put your mind to the task. I think as a group, in the field and with the bat, we really supported one another. I think once we continue to show that fight, we will keep winning and keep improving.”
He added: “We’ve got to push on [now]. Obviously as a team, we look to win, we’re aiming to win the series but for us, we have to deal with the processes. Once we get the processes right, we’ll come out on top.”
Brathwaite endured mixed fortunes in the lone tour match which ended here Tuesday, scoring 52 and two in the drawn three-day encounter, and stressed it was important for the Windies batsmen to quickly adapt to the sluggish pitches.
“The pitches here take some getting used to. I think when you first come in the pitch is a little bit slow and spongy in bounce, so that first half an hour is the toughest but I find once you get in things will become a lot easier.” (CMC)