Exclusive: ‘Australia will pounce on any mistakes’

West Indies Test captain Denesh Ramdin is looking forward to the Australia Test series with renewed enthusiasm thanks to new coach Phil Simmons' influence, but knows that the Aussies will 'pounce' on any mistakes.

Speaking to Cricket365 on the phone from Miami, Ramdin said they would be gathering for a 10-day camp later this month, where the players would be working extra hard with Simmons to make sure they'd be as ready as possible.

When asked about Simmons' influence on the side, having taken over after the World Cup, Ramdin was effusive in his praise, saying: "So far he has been great, I would say.

"He has accepted us, he respects us and we give him that respect as well. He's really pushing us during practice.

"We're training a lot harder than we did before, spending more time in the nets. Guys are batting longer, the bowlers are bowling longer spells. It's really relaxed, and we believe in ourselves a bit more."

That belief will be crucial against the Aussies come early June, and when asked which areas they'd be focusing on he laughed and said: "I would say all departments!

"They are the World Cup winners and they will be coming here on a very, very happy note, so I think all our departments need to be top notch. We can't afford to slip in any department because they're going to pounce on that."

He was pleased with the bowling lately though, adding: "At the moment I think our bowling has been very good, especially during the England series.

"There's a little bit of concern in our batting, but in the 10 days at our camp we'll be looking to rectify that. We'll be looking to analyse their bowlers a bit more so that our batsmen can know how to go about it."

Two players Ramdin will be relying on are youngsters Jermaine Blackwood and Jason Holder, who were stand-out performers in the series draw against England. Holder was in for some extra credit from his skipper.

He said: "They batted brilliantly, both of them. Jermaine Blackwood scoring his first century, Jason Holder too. And when he (Holder) is given the ball he's done a great job for the team, picking up wickets at crucial times. He's a good motivation to have around.

"He's the type of player who when you give him the ball he'll give you 100 percent. He's a whole-hearted guy and willing to go the extra mile. Any team would be glad to have him in their side."

The focus will switch formats immediately for the Windies players after the two Tests, going straight into the Caribbean Premier League and Ramdin's vocal enthusiasm kicks up a notch when asked about the tournament's appeal.

The Guyana Amazon Warriors skipper said: "It's one of the best tournaments around, in the Caribbean it's a carnival atmosphere and everyone comes out in support of the teams. We get to play against guys from our own countries, it's a good rivalry."

While his side will boast the likes of Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera, he'd have liked to have Kevin Pietersen on the books too, saying of the controversial batsman: "I think he's a fantastic player and any team would accept him with both hands.

"I think the St Lucia Zouks have him for the CPL (they do). He's a very exciting player to watch when he's on the go, very dynamic as well so he will be a boost for any team."

Lindsay du Plessis