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Phil Simmons

Phil Simmons draws on Headingley win to get into right mental space

Eng v WI news

West Indies coach Phil Simmons says making sure his players are mentally ready is the most important task for him ahead of the first Test against England in Southampton.

While West Indies have a world-class bowling attack that has thrived across conditions in recent times, the batting line-up has been a concern for them on away tours. Head coach Simmons zeroed in on finding the right mentality as key for batsmen on this tour.

"I think the batters have worked hard on getting to a mental stage of where they need to be because most of them have scored runs here," Simmons told the Cricket, on the Inside webinar on Friday.

"(Shai) Hope has got back-to-back hundreds here (in Leeds, during the 2017 series). It's about getting to the mental stage where you are prepared for a Test match in England, because it’s different to many other places.

"The next three days of practice is about sharpening up the skills. But mentality is the big thing."

One of West Indies' most famous away wins in recent times came in England in 2017 when they beat the hosts at Headingley, powered by brilliant batting by Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite. Simmons said West Indies are hoping to draw on the spirit of that win to start the series on a good note.

"We are drawing on that. The Test match before Headingley we were horrible and that seems to be like that most times we go on tour. We are trying to make sure that bad match is taken out of the equation and we start properly.

"We are playing against one of the best Test teams in the world and we need to start on the front foot. We’re trying to bring back memories of Headingley and get the psychology right."