DHAKA – It is do or die starting at 4 a.m. tomorrow for the West Indies.
Another loss against Bangladesh will mean the first series defeat to their hosts by a full-strength West Indies team and the danger of slipping below the Asians in the One-Day International cricket rankings. But today coach Ottis Gibson said he expected his side to step-up their performance in the crucial third One-Day International.
West Indies trail 0-2 in the five-match series and Gibson said hosts Bangladesh had things too easy in the first two One-day Internationals.
“We have gifted our wickets, but if we pay a little bit more attention and are a little bit more ‘street-wise’, especially against their spinners, and put a significant total on the board, I back our bowlers to defend it,” he said.
“This has been a good venue for us. We won the Test match here and we won the ODIs last year when we played here – but we still have to play good cricket to win the remaining matches.”
Gibson added: “Bangladesh have shown that they are an improving One-day outfit for a long time, and when we played in the ODI series last year here, it was not an easy series.
“We never expected this to be an easy series, but we just haven’t produced the quality that we expected from ourselves, so we have to start from this match and get back to producing what we did in our previous ODI series against New Zealand, which was outstanding.”
More needed from top order
Gibson said the major difference between the home series against New Zealand in July and now was the contribution from the top-order batting.
“This is pretty much the same team that played against New Zealand when we won that series 4-1 and the fact is that the top-order batting made massive contributions – they got the bulk of the runs and batted for most of the overs,” he said.
“The all-rounders in the middle and lower order, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell, were then able to make contributions at the back-end.
“But the foundations were laid by the top order and we have not laid any foundations for any significant totals in the first two games here, so if everybody does their job, execute the game plan and the batsmen take more responsibility, then I believe we will be alright.”
The West Indies training session scheduled for today at the National Cricket Academy Ground in Mirpur had to be cancelled. This followed the management of the team being informed the previous day that there was likely to be a general strike in the Bangladesh capital.
Gibson said the players had been anxious to get back into the nets and try to put right some of the things they had discussed into practice.
“We did not have that opportunity, so we may arrive at the venue a little earlier [on Wednesday], so that the players can get into the nets and get some work done before the match,” he said.
“But some of the players have been in Bangladesh for a long time. It’s been a long tour for the players that were involved in the Test series, so sometimes a rest is as good as getting back into the nets.
“For the players that arrived for the limited-overs matches only, we hope that they have acclimatised and can get their heads around playing better than we have so far.”
The players were restricted today to gym sessions at the team hotel with strength & conditioning coach Hector Martinez and strategic planning meetings in between periods of recovery.
Gibson said West Indies could make improvements in all three disciplines of the game and hoped to see this from his side.
“We have to make one more run than them, so it means that our batsmen have to be a little bit more determined than they have been to stay there, be a little bit more conscientious about the way they build their innings, and executing their roles for the team,” he said.
“I think it comes down now to people looking at themselves because we haven’t become a bad side overnight and, from my perspective as coach, it’s not all gloom and doom either.”
He added: “It’s just disappointing that we have not been able to string together a good batting display so far with the quality batting that we have from the top all the way through to the middle order.
“Hopefully, the batsmen will take the responsibility for the bulk of the runs and try to bat most of the overs. To be dismissed, like we were in the second ODI – with 19 overs remaining – is very disappointing. Everybody is disappointed and so hopefully the guys will put it right.”††