Brooks, Windies “A” look to make home advantage count against Sri Lanka “A”

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Shamarh Brooks said one of the major aims of Windies “A” was to stoutly defend home soil against Sri Lanka “A” and avenge the series loss the side suffered when they faced the same opponents in their backyard two years ago.

The Windies “A” captain was speaking on the eve of the start of the three “Test” series which opens tomorrow at the Trelawny Multiplex in Jamaica, where all of the matches, including three One-dayers, will be staged.

Brooks was also at the helm of Windies “A” when they lost a hard fought, three-match series 2-1 last October in Sri Lanka and this was one of the things uppermost in his side’s mind, as they prepared for the first “Test”.

On the players’ approach to the series, Brooks said: “The players have been pretty excited. We had a camp in Antigua and it went pretty well. It was pretty strenuous and it was a good blow-out for the players coming back off of white-ball matches. It helped to get them back into the groove of red-ball matches, so it went very well. We arrived last week in Jamaica to complete our preparations for the series. We know we lost the “Test” series the last time the Windies “A” Team visited Sri Lanka last year, so we are pretty pumped about getting back at them on our home soil.”

On the value of “A” Team matches, he said: “It is a valuable experience. Coming on the back of our expanded first-class season, getting the opportunity to play against this type of opposition is a good experience and good exposure for our players. It is a very important litmus test to indicate where is our game at that period of time, so it is very important level of the game. I think we have a good, balanced side. I can’t say that batting or bowling is our strength. I think we have a good, all-round unit.”

On his own personal goals, Brooks said: “As a batsman in any type of match, your aim is also to score as many runs as you possibly can, allow the weight of runs to speak for itself, and when you break it down, the goal is always to score hundreds, so that will be one of the things I will be looking to do. In a nutshell, amass as many runs as I can and try to be as consistently prolific as I can be.”

On how conditions will affect strategy, he said: “Practising on the surfaces adjacent, it looks like it will be a good pitch. It would appear that both the fast bowlers and the spinners can get some amount of assistance from the surface. It seems like there will be some bounce for the fast bowlers, once they are prepared to put in the hard work, but I believe we are a well-rounded side and whatever conditions we are presented, we should be able to adapt and execute.”

On the definition of success, other than winning the series, Brooks said: “Sticking together – this will be the key. We have been playing with and against each other for some time, so we should have a pretty good understanding of each other and enjoy each other’s company. We have built up a strong camaraderie from the time we assembled for the camp two weeks ago in Antigua, so team unity will be important. We cannot take the Sri Lankans for granted. There are some pretty good players in their team, especially when you look at the numbers, so sticking together and backing each other will play a vital role in us being triumphant in this series.”

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