Kraigg Brathwaite has engaged the assistance of West Indies nice Desmond Haynes as he seeks to rediscover the shape that noticed him narrowly miss scoring twin centuries towards England at Headingley in 2017.
Each opening batsmen from Barbados, Brathwaite and Haynes have labored collectively beforehand on technical parts of Brathwaite’s recreation however, extra not too long ago, the main focus has shifted to the psychological aspect as West Indies put together to face England of their three-Check sequence behind closed doorways, starting on the Ageas Bowl on July 8.
“I had some words with Desmond Haynes back in Barbados,” Brathwaite mentioned on Wednesday by way of video hyperlink from the group’s Manchester coaching base. “Me and him always had a good relationship because he was team manager for the Barbados team when I first started, so I had some chats with him. He was obviously an opener as well and that’s been very beneficial to me.
“Numerous it’s preserving it easy, you do not actually wish to complicate it an excessive amount of. It is simply easy recommendation, nearly what he did again within the day. Three hours left in a day is at all times a tricky interval for an opener, or an hour. So it is simply psychological stuff that he helped me with… he was very robust mentally.”
Brathwaite scored 134 and 95 when West Indies chased down 322 to win the second Check at Headingley in 2017 – their first Check victory in England for 17 years – and team-mate Shai Hope became the first man to score two centuries in a first-class match at the ground with 147 and 118 not out.
Since then, Brathwaite has suffered a dip in form, averaging 25.33 in his last 20 Tests. He made it into the 40s twice as West Indies defeated England 2-1 in the Caribbean 18 months ago but his failure to convert those starts, followed by even leaner returns against India and, most recently, Afghanistan has put him under increasing pressure.
Brathwaite did strike some good form with the bat during the West Indies Championship, reaching three half-centuries and scoring 40 or more on three further occasions for Barbados before the competition was halted with two rounds to go in mid-March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The absence of batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer, who opted not to travel to England during the outbreak, only adds to the expectation on Brathwaite and Hope for this series, although Brathwaite doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Nor does he give too much currency to his feats in Leeds last time West Indies toured England.
“That was virtually three years in the past,” Brathwaite said. “Trying again at stuff I did I can clearly see issues I did nicely, however that is historical past. I’ve a present job to do right here and I am prepared, I am raring to go.
“I’m up for the challenge… I know all the guys here can do well. I’m starting the innings and I’m just going to do my job, it’s as simple as that. I know we have a good batting line-up and everyone’s ready and raring to go, so no added pressure really.”
Having mentioned that, Brathwaite additionally believes that run-chase at Headingley might maintain the important thing to success this time round for a aspect that, by head coach Phil Simmons’ admission, has come to rely too closely on its bowling assault.
“We’ve got to score runs,” Brathwaite mentioned. “Once you can put runs on the board we put our team in a great position. We’ve still got to be disciplined with the ball but I think potentially, when we won the game at Headingley, we scored runs, we chased down over 300 runs, so we’ve just got to put runs on the board.”
“You’ve just got to be mentally strong. The last couple of series, we’ve got to be honest with ourselves, we didn’t do as good as we know we can so we’ve got to buckle down and stay disciplined. Discipline will carry you a long way, in Test cricket in the whole and then especially here in England where the ball will potentially be moving. Once you can be disciplined throughout the whole day and not just for half an hour, an hour, I think that will bring forth big runs.”
Brathwaite’s self-discipline and endurance stood out towards England within the Caribbean 18 months in the past, the place he carried out nicely towards the seamers and the brand new ball, however fell to Moeen Ali 3 times in six innings. However he has by no means confronted fellow Barbadian Jofra Archer, who is about to play West Indies for the primary time in a Check since qualifying to symbolize England final yr.
“Jofra is quality,” Brathwaite mentioned. “I’ve never played against Jofra, not even back in Barbados, but I look forward to the challenge. We know it won’t be easy so you’ve just got to work hard. Our net sessions are quite competitive, our guys are quite aggressive so we’re getting in shape.”