KHULNA, Bangladesh -- Sagicor High Performance Centre coach Graeme West said he was eagerly looking forward to his side’s first match on their tour of Bangladesh.
The West Indies emerging players face the Bangladesh National Cricket Academy team, starting on Sunday [Saturday night – East Caribbean Time] at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium here.
West said he expected a huge challenge from the opposition and the conditions, and wanted to see how the players use the knowledge they have gained in the Sagicor HPC programme over the last three months to adapt.
“We have worked really hard and we feel the two four-day matches will be very interesting,” he said.
“We have talked a lot about the need for the batsmen to occupy the crease for longer periods and to get big, big scores.”
He added: “We also talked about the need for the fast bowlers to be a lot more patient on the kind of pitches that we expect to come across.
“And we have with us a strong spin bowling group and it will be really interesting to see how they bowl on pitches that should assist them and against batsmen at home to spin.”
West said that he would measure the success of the tour on an individual basis, rather than the collective performance of the team.
“It would be nice to win and we want to win matches on this tour because it is part and parcel of the development process for the players,” he said. “But we ultimately want to see players making better decisions on the field.
“To be successful in the four-day matches in particular, it is going to be about the batsmen getting hundreds and batting through a day, and it is going to be about the bowlers and the fielders really sticking to their tasks for longer periods of time.”
He said: “A lot of the players have been brought up on the shorter versions of the game and this is one of the challenges we face. We have no doubts that in the One-day and Twenty20 versions we have the skills in all departments to perform.
“But we are trying to get the players to understand that every time they play, one performance can give the selectors a nudge, and if they take the field with that expectation, it will be interesting to see how they respond to it.”
West noted the senior West Indies team is scheduled to tour Bangladesh later this year and the players should allow this to motivate them.
“If someone was to really press, who knows if an opportunity arose, there may be players from this team that may be able to push into that squad,” he said.
“Technically, they are all developing, and they all came to the Sagicor HPC with reasonably good techniques.”
He said: “What we have done is to refine them a bit, and for some, it’s just a matter of patience. We have encouraged them to be positive, but take each delivery on its merit.
“We have seen signs of improvements in training, but we now need to see it in competition, and this is the challenge.”
The month-long tour also features a four-day match against the Bangladesh A-Team, as well as three One-day and two Twenty20 matches against this same opponent.
This is the second squad of players at the Sagicor HPC since its inauguration two years ago.
The first squad of players included current West Indies opener Kieran Powell and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
The Sagicor HPC programme, which is exclusively funded by the West Indies Cricket Board through sponsorship from regional financial services company Sagicor, has been broadened to focus more intensely on developing the mental prowess of the players.
In addition to the standard rigorous training in skills development and fitness required for high performance athletes, the players are also benefitting from specialised training in a number of other areas including their roles as ambassadors, personal development, anti-doping, and anti-corruption.
The 2012-2013 Sagicor HPC programme will conclude next May.