KOCHI, India – West Indies will attempt to turn the page on the horrors of the two-Test series when they clash with India in the opening One-Day International of the three-match series here tomorrow.
The Caribbean side produced sub standard performances in both Tests as they suffered humiliating innings defeats inside three days in Kolkata and Mumbai.
However, West Indies ODI captain Dwayne Bravo said today the team had put the Test series defeat behind and were now full of confidence ahead of the opening limited overs contest at the Nehru Stadium.
“The ODI format is one where we feel very comfortable as a team, but playing against India is not going to be easy,” Bravo admitted.
“Lately, they have been playing some very good cricket. We respect them, we respect their players, but we know we are also capable of good performances. I think this series is going to be very exciting and will not be as one-sided as the Test series.”
He continued: “Obviously, the first few days after the defeat in the Test series, the guys were a bit down and feeling a bit low. As captain, it is was very important for me to stress to them that this is a different format and this will give us a bit more freedom to express ourselves and show our skills.
“We had two good training sessions in Mumbai and we feel better about ourselves. We [had] another training session [today] and Kochi is a new venue for most of us. The Test series loss is behind us now. We see ourselves more comfortable with this format and more confident too.”
For all Bravo’s confidence, West Indies enter tomorrow’s game with a record they would rather forget. Against top tier opposition, they have won just four of their last 17 outings; throw in Zimbabwe who they beat 3-0 in the Caribbean and they have won just seven of 20 this year.
More intimidating for the Windies must be India’s high scoring against Australia in the recent seven-match ODI home series where total of 300-plus were the norm and Rohit Sharma slammed a double century.
Bravo said he had watched the series but believes that West Indies have bowlers more suited to the conditions, and that World number one-ranked off-spinner Sunil Narine, could be the trump card.
“Their previous series was a run-feast . . . but these are different conditions, different venues, and we have a different bowling attack,” he said.
“Our bowlers are similar to the Indian bowlers. We have Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine, Jason Holder . . . I think we expect this will be a high-scoring series and the team that bowls better will win the series, so it’s up to us as bowlers to try and get things right.”
He added: “We have some good fast bowlers in our line-up, but in India, the grounds are small, the outfields are fast, the pitches are batsman-friendly, so the team that bowls better will win.
“This will require more skills, not too much pace, as we saw with the Australians – most of their bowlers delivered at 140 kph and they were not successful. My advice to my team will be to be skillful and smart.”
For the ODI phase, the Windies have called up attacking batsmen Johnson Charles and Lendl Simmons, along with seamers Rampaul and Holder, and Narine. The
big-hitting Kieron Pollard was unavailable due to injury.
Bravo, who was not a part of the Test series, believes Test captain Darren Sammy can fill the void left by Pollard.
“I think One-Day and Twenty20 cricket give you more freedom. Darren Sammy did not do well in the Tests, but he could be our match-winner in the ODIs, playing the role that Kieron Pollard has played for us. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels could also find their feet here,” Bravo pointed out.
“It’s been a while since we played a Test series, so coming to India was never going to be easy, even Australia came here and lost 4-0 in a Test series – this will be an opportunity for the players to express themselves. But they still have to be smart, there are 300 balls in every innings, and as long as they play smart, we will have a good series.”
The game bowls off at 4 am Eastern Caribbean time.
SQUAD – Dwayne Bravo (Captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Narsingh Deonarine, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels,