BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Guyana Jaguars left-hander, Leon Johnson, is among 14 players invited to a special camp designed to help batsmen improve their technique against spin, ahead of the upcoming Test series against India and Pakistan.
The 28-year-old averages nearly 40 in four Tests but has been repeatedly overlooked over the past 16 months, as West Indies struggled in successive series with the opening position.
However, he was the leading scorer in the just concluded regional first class championship, with 807 runs at an average of 57, and now heads a list that includes fellow Guyanese Vishal Singh and Barbadian Roston Chase, which assembled here last weekend for the week-long camp.
“The camp is specifically for batsmen and spin bowlers. At this stage, we want the batsmen to focus on getting better against the slow bowlers. We want bowlers to look at ways to improve their art of spin bowling,” head coach Phil Simmons said.
“In the coming months we will have Test matches against India and Pakistan – two higher ranked teams – so we know we will face a lot of spin and we will play against players who are good players of spin. So this camp is planned with those factors in mind.”
Both Vishal and Chase were heavy scorers in the first class competition. The left-handed Vishal gathered 712 runs at an average of 50 with three hundreds while Chase, a right-hander, was the leading scorer for Barbados Pride with 710 runs at 59.
Uncapped batsmen Shamarh Brooks and John Campbell, all-rounder Imran Khan, along with left-arm spinner Gudekesh Moti-Kanhai and leg-spinner Damion Jacobs, are among the 14 players invited to the camp.
Simmons was careful to point out, however, that the invitees were not selections for the upcoming Test series.
“The list of players for this camp does not mean that they have already been selected to play the Test matches,” the Trinidadian said.
“The squads for the India and Pakistan matches will be named at a later date. We have chosen players to work on certain specific areas and to have a closer look at their techniques and skill sets, as we look to prepare for what is ahead of us.”
The training session started last weekend at the West Indies High Performance Centre at the 3Ws Oval, under the supervision of Simmons.
West Indies host India in four Tests between July and August and then face Pakistan in a three-Test series away.
They take on Australia and South Africa in a Tri-Nations Series next month and a squad for the tournament is set to be named shortly.