West Indies coach Phil Simmons has admitted concern for the recent spate of injuries suffered by veteran T20 star Dwayne Bravo but insists the player remains in consideration for next year’s World Cup squad once fit and available.
The 37-year-old Bravo, who recently set the milestone of claiming 500 T20 wickets in this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL), picked up a knee injury that delayed the start of his India Premier League (IPL) campaign. Bravo started the IPL four games late but found himself sidelined a few games later, this time with a groin injury.
The injury led to Bravo being ruled out of the team’s tour to New Zealand. The player’s previous CPL season had also been hampered after he suffered a broken finger. While admitting it is a source of concern, Simmons has assured the player will remain in the minds of the selectors once he can recover sufficiently.
“It’s a concern because he was injured in CPL and now he’s injured in IPL,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call from the team’s training camp in New Zealand.
“There’s a break now, so he will go home and do what is necessary for him to be fit enough to play and there are a few series and also another IPL before the World Cup. So, there’s a lot of chance for him to go and get himself fit and we will see what his fitness is like heading into the tournament.”
Meanwhile, Simmons also expressed optimism that the team had added needed firepower to its batting line-up following the return of talented batsman Darren Bravo, ahead of the New Zealand series.
The 31-year-old Bravo, along with Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul, declined not to take part in the team’s tour of England earlier this year, citing health concerns due to the ongoing pandemic.
Despite winning the first Test with a commendable performance, the West Indies batting line-up went through its typical struggles in the next two, as the series went to England 2-1. The West Indies’s batting performance in the England series was among their worst on tour since 2000, with the top-6 averaging just 28.66 and no century in the entire three-game series.
With such performances, it was little wonder Simmons was excited to get back a couple of his key batsmen. He was confident Bravo and Hetmyer could make a difference.
“He’s (Bravo) has always been important, to the Test team especially, and it’s good to have him and Shimron back in the squad,” Simmons said.
“Where the batting is concerned it will be pressure on people to hold their places, in order to hold their places, they will have to score runs and that is a big plus for us,” he added.
“He is a huge plus for us in these situations. He has done well here. He is one of the only batsmen that have high averages in international cricket, so he knows what it takes to score big runs at this level so it’s good to have him back.” (SportsMax)