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Simmons keeps Windies afloat

india Updated: Jul 06, 2011 12:09 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

Fortunately for the West Indies, there are still players who keep the hopes of a turnaround alive.

Devendra Bishoo has impressed and Andre Russell smashed a valuable 92 not out in the third ODI that India won to seal the series on Saturday.

The real difference maker, however, is opening batsman Lendl Simmons. He has provided solid starts at one end in contrast to the rest of the batting unit.

The 26-year-old Trinidadian has been consistent in the current series as well as the previous home series against Pakistan. After contributing 24, 51, 51, 76, 77 not out against Pakistan, Simmons has contributed 6, 53, 45 and 67 so far against India.

The scores prove the man is at peace with himself. But the nephew of former WI opener Phil Simmons has also not kicked on to get his first one-day ton. That means he still has some ground to cover.

In the absence of Chris Gayle and opening partners Kirk Edwards and Danza Hyatt proving inadequate for the job, Simmons' role has been invaluable to at least stay afloat.

A West Indies team insider was not surprised by the turnaround. "He has been transformed since his daughter was born last year. That has made a difference and he himself feels it has opened his eyes to his responsibilities in life, made him realise that it is not always about fun and games. That, in turn, has made him a mature player as he realises he must justify his talent," he said. His one-day debut in Pakistan was forgettable, but he hit 282 against England A in 2008-9. The start to his Test career has been quiet but Indian bowlers may have to contend with Simmons in the longer version as well.