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Root wary of Windies' bowling depth

June 27, 2020 14:50 IST
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'We are very aware of the skill West Indies have and what they will bring to this series'

IMAGE: 'We are very aware of the skill West Indies have and what they will bring to this series'. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

England batsmen must prepare well if they are to get the better of a "formidable" West Indies bowling attack in the three-test series next month, captain Joe Root has said.

West Indies will be banking heavily on their pace attack in England to defend the Wisden Trophy which they won after triumphing 2-1 on home soil in the 2019 series.

Root said England could not afford to lower their guard against an attack which featured three bowlers -- Jason Holder, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel -- who are among the top 20 in official Test rankings.

 

"We are very aware of the skill West Indies have and what they will bring to this series," Root told BBC Sport.

"One thing that stood out was how formidable their bowling attack can be. It is really important we prepare well and we are ready for all of that."

Holder is also the top ranked Test all-rounder, followed by England's Ben Stokes, and West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has predicted their rivalry would light up the series.

"Jase is one of the most well-respected guys in international cricket," Root said.

"He took the job at a young age and we are starting to see him at the peak of his career.

"He comes across as a very good bloke. I am looking forward to chatting to him from a social distance."

Root has said he would miss the series opener in Southampton from July 8 should it clash with the birth of his second child with vice-captain Stokes taking the reins in his absence.

Manchester hosts the last two Tests of the series which will be played behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment.

Meanwhile, West Indies speedster Oshane Thomas is "overweight" and needs to work harder on his fitness to maintain pace and prolong his international career, feels former pacer Franklyn Rose.

Rose, who took 53 wickets in 19 Tests and 29 scalps in 27 ODIs between 1997 and 2000, said he is concerned about the fitness of Thomas, who is currently in England for next month's three-Test series.

"I am a bit concerned because he looks overweight to me. I never met the guy, but I know he has a lot of talent, and that's why the Windies has taken him to England on tour. But he needs to keep working hard and be hungrier for success," Rose was quoted as saying by 'Jamaica gleaner'.

The 23-year-old Thomas is yet to play a Test but he has captured 27 wickets in 20 ODIs and 15 wickets in 12 T20Is.

He took just two wickets in two innings in the West Indies inter-squad practice match at Old Trafford.

Thomas's ability to bowl over 90 miles per hour catapulted him to the West Indies set-up but Rose doubted if he will be able to maintain his pace.

"If I come on the scene bowling 90 miles per hour, I would want to maintain that for another five years. The question is, can he maintain that speed at the highest level if he is not at peak fitness?

"I can see that he has a lot of talent, and let me be clear, this is not about bashing Oshane Thomas. It is about helping him to achieve his optimum in cricket."

Rose, however, admitted that he was a "lazy cricketer" during his career.

"I was a lazy cricketer, and I realised later on that it's all about hard work," he said.

"Sometimes, as fast bowlers, we get up and don't feel like training, but you have to think about the big bucks and the success that's ahead of you, and you have to have self-motivation and discipline to push on."

The three-Test series, which will resume international cricket after coronavirus hiatus, will begin with the opening game at Ageas Bowl, Southampton on July 8.

 

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