West Indies opener Adrian Barath is optimistic that he can turn his form around on the tour of England and help West Indies spring some surprises on the number one Test team in the world.
The 22-year-old right-handed batsman scored just 65 runs in six Test innings with a high-score of 29 in the recently concluded series against Australia. The other openers did not do much better with Kraigg Brathwaite scoring 71 runs in five innings and Kieran Powell scoring 87 runs in four innings.
"I did not have the kind of series I wanted against Australia," Barath told the Express, "but heading to England we have two warm-up games when we get there and those two matches is an opportunity for me to get some form and some confidence back."
West Indies take on Sussex in a three-day match from May 5-7 at Hove and then face England Lions at Northampton from May 10-13.
Barath, who was 14 when he toured England as part of an Under-16 schoolboy team in 2004, knows what type of conditions to expect and believes the West Indies have quality players who can cope with the conditions and go toe-to-toe with their hosts.
"I think obviously it will be different now. This time I will be playing for the West Indies senior team. It is an opportunity to play a Test match at Lord's against the number one Test team in the world so I am really looking forward to it.
"I know the conditions are going to be challenging. The England bowlers know how to bowl in their conditions. It is going to be a challenge, but it is for us to back ourselves and learn as fast as possible and make the adjustment. Going up two weeks before the first Test will help in that cause. It is really a new experience for me and the warm-up games will be an outing in the middle for us to see the conditions and try to see how best we can adapt to them.
"We know what to expect— the swinging ball, cold wet conditions—so we need to learn fast. It is all about making the adjustment. Test cricket is always a challenge and it is all about rising to the occasion, and I think we can do that.
"Over the last couple of months we have really stepped up in our performances, and the team is showing that we have the ability. Once everyone pulls their game together and if we could adapt to the conditions quickly, we could have a surprise for them (England)."
Barath said he does not feel any pressure as the senior opening batsmen in the West Indies touring team.
"Kieran (Powell) and I opened the batting for West Indies Under-19 and we have a good relationship in the middle. We will back ourselves and give 100 percent. It is not a matter of batting for the first hour or seeing off the new ball. It is about batting right through and setting a good platform for the team.
"I am not going to predict a result but we have a quality bowling line-up and a quality team. It is just a matter of how we use the conditions and how well we play in the conditions. At the end of the day, you have to stay focused and try to play a good Test series and play a good brand of cricket."
West Indies leave for England today to play three Tests, three ODIs and one T20I.
The Test phase of the tour runs from May 5 to June 11 with the first Test bowling off on May 17 at Lord's.
WEST INDIES SQUAD: Darren Sammy (captain), Kirk Edwards (vice-captain), Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Fidel Edwards, Assad Fudadin, Shannon Gabriel, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford