Phil Simmons banks on West Indies pace attack to 'exploit' Proteas

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West Indies' Phil Simmons (AFP)
West Indies' Phil Simmons (AFP)
  • West Indies coach Phil Simmons hopes that his bowling unit can exploit the Proteas top order ahead of Thursday's opening Test in St. Lucia.
  • The West Indies will host South Africa for two Tests and five T20s.
  • Simmons insists that his side will be wary of the Proteas despite their recent slump in form.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes that his side needs to be on top of their game if they are going to defeat the Proteas at home.

The Proteas' tour of the Caribbean consists of two Tests and five T20s, with the first Test scheduled  to start on Thursday in St. Lucia.

Simmons believes that the two Tests will be decided on which bowling attack can perform on a seam-friendly wicket at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground. 

"For both teams, the strongest suit is the bowling and that's where the competition lies in the series. The team that bowls and fields better will come out on top," Simmons told reporters on Monday.

"Any team you come up against, you have to look for where you can exploit them, they're very strong at the top with the captain (Dean Elgar) and then later down the order with (Quinton) de Kock.

"Our fast bowling department has been strong for a while now. They are the ones that have kept us in games by bowling out teams when it did not appear likely so that looks good. Everyone is looking sharp."

READ | Proteas prepare for pacemen's paradise ahead of Windies first Test

The West Indies come off a stellar summer where they defeated Bangladesh 2-0 away from home and drew a two-Test series at home against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Proteas have been in a slump this season - losing four consecutive series against Pakistan, which included a two-match Test series in Pakistan.

The Proteas dropped to seventh in the ICC Test rankings, with West Indies in sixth position.

Simmons insists that his side do not hold the upper hand despite their form leading up to Thursday's opening Test.

"Yes, the confidence is there, we are above South Africa (in the ICC rankings), but that does not mean anything for me on Thursday morning," he said.

"There is no underrating South Africa because they are below us, but I know the boys are up for it.

"It is always going to be hard against South Africa, they are a quality team. We need to play even better than we played in our last four Test matches. No disrespect to the other teams we played against, but you know the quality that South Africa have and we just got to step it up."

Play on Thursday starts at 16:00 SA time.

West Indies provisional Test squad:

Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jahmar Hamilton, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Jomel Warrican

South Africa tour to West Indies fixtures:

10-14 June, 1st Test - St Lucia

18-22 June, 2nd Test - St Lucia

26 June, 1st T20I - Grenada

27 June, 2nd T20I - Grenada

29 June, 3rd T20I - Grenada

1 July, 4th T20I - Grenada 

3 July, 5th T20I - Grenada

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