Toby's Blog

West Indies High Performance Centre

I spent a really enjoyable and productive day working with West Indies batsmen Darren Bravo, Andre Fletcher, Devon Smith, Dwayne Bravo, Kirk Edwards and Lendl Simmons.

With upcoming series against Pakistan and India, who are well known for their wealth of spin bowling talent, focus was on surviving, manipulating and striking the turning ball.

Darren Bravo is as clean a striker of a cricket ball as anyone in the world. Fletcher is becoming more confident and selective with his stroke-play and has quick feet when looking to hit down the ground.

Devon Smith, fresh from some exciting innings at the recent World Cup, looked very organized. He is extremely well balanced and regularly presents the full face of the bat. He has a structured game plan and sticks to it. It works. Bowl too short to him with width and he cuts, bowl too full and he drives straight, bowl too straight and he clips or sweeps. It's very simple and highly effective.

All of the players accept the need for greater application when batting against spin bowling and are gaining a greater insight into what works for them. Each has his own method for surviving or scoring and each understands the need to bat with his preferred method and to simply make the right shot selections at the right time to the right deliveries. Batting under pressure – ie, chasing high scores on difficult surfaces – requires a calm mind, sensible shot selection and good skill execution. Technique and temperament are truly tested when surfaces and scores are beyond the norm.