West Indies were hammered by 10 wickets in the opening Test against Australia in Adelaide, but skipper Kraigg Brathwaite said the performances of Shamar Joseph and Kirk McKenzie should act as a morale booster for other players.
McKenzie was only one of the two players to touch the 50-run mark in the entire game, while debutant paceman Joseph managed to take a five-wicket haul and didn’t allow Australian batters to dictate terms. He also chipped in with scores of 36 and 15, becoming the first West Indies player to take a five-fer and score more than 50 runs on Test debut.
"It shows them that they can do it. Kirk got a 50 and 20-odd (26) in the second. So it shows that he has the ability to score runs against world-class bowlers. And the other guys didn't get runs but from watching Kirk they know now that we could get it done,” said Brathwaite.
"Because it's all mental. We played some shots where I believe the shot was on but we edged it. So whether it was nerves, obviously a little poor execution, but I think it could give the batters confidence to know that they could do it.
"(Joseph's) belief is amazing. If all the guys could have that that'd be great. But he's obviously a special, special guy and he gave a lot of confidence to the team as well when you see him playing his shots and for the batters I just want them to go out there and enjoy themselves.
"It's a great start to his international career and he has a bright future for the West Indies. I wasn't surprised. I really believe he's something special. And I was very happy for him."
Joseph got the wickets of Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon and Brathwaite said there’s now a possibility of him bowling with the new ball in the second Test in Brisbane.
"Obviously, he got Steve Smith with his first ball. So there was a temptation and you never know." Brathwaite was also pleased with how the other two debutants - Kavem Hodge and Justin Greaves- performed.
"I think it's good for the guys to get out there and play and experience what it is to play international cricket. It's great to be playing against the number one team in the world because you pretty much know where you stand after here. I was very, very pleased with what I saw from those debutants."
Talking about preparing bouncy wickets in West Indies, Brathwaite said: "I think one thing that would be great for us is we just got to produce some good pitches in the Caribbean. Some pitches that have some bounce so that we can produce more Shamar Josephs and not just a lot of spinners. Because pretty much in our first-class cricket in the first hour, the ball is spinning.
"Our pitches are obviously getting better and they did improve in the last two years and if we continue to get them to have some pace in it, fast bowlers enjoy themselves and get some pace and balls bouncing to the keeper well and not just carrying knee height, I think all of that together will help us to produce more fast bowlers because it gives them a lot of confidence."