HOVE, Sussex, CMC – West Indies had their first full practice session under bleak skies here yesterday, weather that is likely to be a foretaste of conditions during the upcoming three-Test series starting later this month.
The tourists battled wintry Spring temperatures as they were put through a three-hour workout by head coach Ottis Gibson at the PROBIZ County Ground, ahead of their three-day game against Sussex at the same venue today.
Despite the dreary weather, the Windies squad remained up beat and vice-captain Kirk Edwards told reporters they were looking forward to the challenge of the English conditions.
“Wherever you play, it is always a test of your skills. Different places present different challenges,” Edwards pointed out.
“It is all about coming and adjusting to the conditions, and being mentally tough out there and being able to handle whatever the opposition sends down at you.”
For West Indies, it was their first full session outdoors since arriving in England on Wednesday.
Rainy weather and frigid temperatures, which have dogged the start of the new County Championship, restricted the Windies to an indoor training session on Thursday at the Farnrise Indoor School at the same venue.
With a powerful line up and in familiar conditions, England’s bowlers are expected to dominate but Edwards said the Windies batsmen were keen on making the necessary adjustments.
“Looking at England play cricket over the last few years, they have built themselves into the No.1 team in the World. I give credit to them for this,” the right-hander said.
“But whatever the case may be, whoever you play against, as a batsman you have to play every ball on its merit and not worry too much about the opposition, so my focus is getting myself into good positions and playing the cricket ball.”
He added: “Batting is kind of a reactive thing. You have your batting plan, but you have to react to what the guy at the other end delivers.
“I don’t get caught up with a lot of the stuff that’s going on around me. I focus on what I have to do and I approach things in my way. This has a lot to do with what the team want at that point in time … I try to get it and if you don’t have control of your mind, I am of less value to my team.”
Sussex have included England wicketkeeper Matt Prior and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar in their 13-man squad which will be led by Chris Nash.
The weekend clash with Sussex is one of two for the West Indies before the first Test bowls off at Lord’s on May 17.
They face England Lion, the country’s A side, in a four-day match starting next Thursday at Northampton.
WEST INDIES – Darren Sammy (captain), Kirk Edwards (vice-captain), Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Fidel Edwards, Assad Fudadin, Shannon Gabriel, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford.
SUSSEX – Chris Nash (captain), Amjad Khan, Will Beer, Ben Brown, Joe Gatting, Naveed Arif Gondal, Chris Liddle, Matt Machan, Monty Panesar, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Kirk Wernars, Luke Wells.