West Indies head coach Phil Simmons attended a funeral on Friday, leaving the West Indies camp. After returning, he isolated himself in his room on site. West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has ensured that the news of his coach isolating himself does not get much significance.
After the Daily Mail broke the story of Simmons isolating himself, a CWI spokesperson confirmed the same, but Joseph said that it would not present the team with any major problems. He said, “That doesn’t really disrupt our preparations. We have our jobs to do, we have our preparation to keep going with. We have a very big coaching staff here that are very supportive of each other, so that’s not really a problem for anyone.”
Simmons will watch the proceedings of the 2nd four day intra squad warm up match from the balcony of his hotel, leaving the on ground responsibilities to assistant coaches Roddy Estwick and Rayon Griffith, and batting coach Floyd Reifer ahead of the game that starts on Monday. Once he tests negative for COVID-19 twice in a row, he will be permitted to join the rest of the squad on Thursday.
Joseph went on to talk about what he expects from himself in this Test series. The 2016 U19 World Cup winning speedster said, “Obviously those three guys have a lot more experience than I do. I’d think more often than not, teams would see me as the weaker link. I think my job is to come in and just back those bowlers and keep the pressure on. It’s not necessarily because of age, but because of the number of matches I’ve played compared to the other three bowlers. I could use it as an advantage, I know my abilities and they (England) might not know. But once I turn up on the day and get the job done, I know I can get on top of any opponent. I see this tour as an opportunity for me to help the team to get higher up the rankings. Any opportunity I get to play, I’ll take it, and whatever the captain and the team require me to do, I’ll put my best foot forward.”
Joseph felt that he has been finding good rhythm heading into the Test series, also aided by the fact that he has bowled in English conditions before. He said, “I’m just looking to stay consistent. I think I bowled pretty well (took 6 wickets in the warm up game) so I’m just looking to repeat what I did in the last game.”
“(The 2017 tour) was a really big learning experience for me, my first time in England. So I have some experience here now, I know how to bowl in these conditions my second time around. The ball does a bit more here in England than in the Caribbean. It’s just some slight adjustments, nothing too big but some simple adjustments. For me, I think it’s about being consistent round that good area, extracting whatever movement you can get off the pitch, and sticking to plans as long as possible.”