Bridgetown (Barbados): West Indies captain Darren Sammy has backed out-of-form teenage opener Kraigg Brathwaite to bounce back strongly after his axing from the cricket team's tour of England. The 19-year-old Barbadian was left out of the 15-man squad for the three-Test tour after a lean patch with the bat in the Australia series.
Brathwaite managed a half-century in the first innings of the opening Test in his native Barbados, but subsequently failed to score in three of his four remaining innings. "The selectors and coach (Ottis Gibson) spoke to him. Obviously he didn't have the best series this time. He's definitely one for the future for us," Sammy explained.
"He's out of form and in England where the ball tends to swing a bit more (would have been difficult). This series he was getting out to the swinging ball a lot." He continued: "We have a few A Team tours coming and the coach has told him he'll be there to get some form. We also have the HPC where he can go and work with the coach over there.
Kraigg Brathwaite made his debut against Pakistan last May and has gone on to post four half-centuries in 9 Tests.
"Just like we said to (Devendra) Bishoo. He had an excellent year for us last year and he was not part of the Test squad but I expect them to come back. They're both strong mentally and they'll go and do what's necessary to force their way back into the team."
Brathwaite made his debut against Pakistan last May and has gone on to post four half-centuries in nine Tests. However, he experienced a poor run of form during the Regional Four-Day Championship for Barbados and it continued into the Test series.
Like Brathwaite, young left-hander Kieran Powell has also struggled for runs but managed to get the nod for the England tour after getting a few starts against the Australians. Sammy said the emergence of the current set of young players augured well for the Windies programme.
"The good thing for us is we have a lot of youngsters. We have a lot of time and the more you play the more you should gain experience," Sammy pointed out. "Kraigg has had a good run in Bangladesh, India and now here. Powell and (Adrian) Barath are quite young as well. So we're just looking to give everyone a fair chance, and hopefully guys go back and work on their game and come back strong and perform for West Indies."