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Seize the opportunity, Simmons beseeches new players

DHAKA, Bangladesh (CMC) — Phil Simmons has urged players on the tour of Bangladesh not to see themselves as replacements but to seize the opportunity to cement spots in the international side. West Indies will field several debutants in both the Test and one-day formats on the January 20 to February 15 tour after 10 first choice players declined selection, but Simmons said these new players now needed to force the hand of selectors by producing strong performances.

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“My role and my message to all the players here: ‘You’re not here to fill in, you’re here to give yourself a chance,’ ” the head coach told reporters in an online media conference on Tuesday.

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“You have a chance now to seal your place in this team. If you do well here, that augurs well for you going forward.

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“You come here, you do well in the three games [One-Day Internationals] and the two Test matches then you’re putting yourself in a place where nobody can move you, so you have that opportunity and only you have that opportunity.”

The 15-man Test squad features four uncapped players with Nkrumah Bonner, Kyle Mayers, Shane Moseley and Kavem Hodge finding favour with selectors.

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Seasoned opener Kraigg Brathwaite will lead the side in the absence of Jason Holder, one of the players opting out of the tour due to concerns over the COVID-19 situation here

Nine uncapped players, meanwhile, have been included in the 15-man one-day side which will be captained by Jason Mohammed, recalled after nearly three years out of international cricket in the absence of regular skipper Kieron Pollard

Holder and Pollard, along with Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shamarh Brooks, Sheldon Cottrell, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Evis Lewis, all declined selection

With a packed home schedule planned for later in the year, Simmons said fielding so many new players on the current tour would help expand the pool of players to choose from over the next 12 months

Simmons said not only would selectors be monitoring performances but the general attitude of players, and how they adapted to the challenge before them

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