West Indies coach Phil Simmons had no qualms over the fitness of Jason Holder after the captain played a restricted role on the final day of his side's first warm-up match ahead of next month's Test series against England. Holder led one team in a drawn intra-squad three-day game against Kraigg Brathwaite's XI at Old Trafford. But the Barbados paceman did not bowl on Thursday, although he was in the field on all three days, and on Wednesday he was lbw to Raymon Reifer for a golden duck.
Holder did not push himself up the order to get a bat on Thursday as the game ended in a draw, Brathwaite declaring 313 runs ahead before the Test skipper's side finished on 149 for three. But Simmons expects Holder to play a full part in next week's second internal warm-up game as the West Indies continue their preparations in the run-up to the first Test at Southampton starting on July 8 -- a match that will mark international cricket's return from lockdown.
"Jason has had a slight niggle on his ankle and that is what has held him back from bowling, but that was always the plan for this match," Simmons told the Press Association news agency.
"He will be back to bowling in the four-day game and should be bowling his full quota. As for the batting, if you get one ball and you're out, that's all you can do."
Meanwhile Simmons was equally upbeat about the fitness of wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, who left the field on Thursday afternoon session after injuring his side. "Shane is fine," said Simmons. "I'll need to see the doctor to see exactly what is wrong but he seems to be doing fine."
Former West Indies batsman Simmons added all his squad's latest round of COVID-19 tests had yielded negative results, with their England counterparts also currently enjoying a clean bill of health. Shannon Gabriel was originally classed as a reserve when the tour squad was selected, with the fast bowler looking to regain full fitness following ankle surgery.
But the Trinidadian quick did his chances of Test selection no harm with four good wickets at a lively pace. "He looks ready, that was evident here," said Simmons. "When you see how he bowled in the first innings, then again yesterday and even more so this morning you could see he's close to 100 percent.
"Now we want to get him up to 100 just before the Test match."