The forthcoming Test series between England and West Indies will capture plenty of attention and Phil Simmons feels that the battle between the two captains would be the riveting of them all. And Phil Simmons hopes for Jason Holder to get on top of Ben Stokes. Fans will see Test cricket with a new lens as a host of changes amongst rules, regulations, and the atmosphere will be visible.
Amongst the English cricketers, Ben Stokes would form the centre of attention, having ascended to lead England for the first time. Holder and Stokes occupy the number one and number two spots respectively in the ICC Test rankings for all-rounders. The West Indies skipper ascended to the top in January 2019 after his splendid showing in the last outing between the two sides.
On the other hand, Stokes booked the second berth on the back of his performances in the 2019 Ashes series and the South African tour. Phil Simmons anticipates Holder to outperform England’s stand-in-skipper and rates it as an exciting battle between them.
“I think that it’s going to be a toss-up between these two all-rounders and hopefully Jason can do what’s necessary to get on top of Ben in this first Test,” Simmons stated as quoted by Hindustan Times.
The 57-year-old was all praises for the New Zealand-born all-rounder, saying that as he leads from the front and is a genuine match-winner, it is crucial to put pressure on him early on. Otherwise, he can rapidly take the game away from the opposition.
“Ben is one of them who leads from the front. That’s been shown by all his exploits before in cricket, (so) we will have to make sure that we get on to him very early, because he likes to do what is necessary for his team,” he stated.
Phil Simmons refuses to see the absence of Joe Root as an advantage:
The Trinidad & Tobago-born went on to downplay Root’s absence from the first Test as beneficial to them. Simmons believes that there are players like Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Rory Burns, and Joe Denly aiming to make a mark. Hence, the prospect of the unknown can be even more precarious; thus, they have to be careful.
“You have to be careful how you use an advantage because, with Root not being there, you have some youngster who wants to make a name for himself. “And sometimes that’s even harder than the players you know, so you have to be very careful about saying that it’s an advantage,” he stated further.