GEORGETOWN, Guyana — West Indies head coach Stuart Law says the regional side will have to raise their game and play “smarter” cricket if they are to get the better of Pakistan in the three-match one-day series starting Friday.
The hosts are coming off an emphatic 3-1 loss to Pakistan in the preceding four-match Twenty20 International series, and find themselves under pressure ahead of the one-day rubber.
Law said it was important West Indies did not attempt to simply use “brute force” in the upcoming rubber, especially bearing in mind the venue.
“Form is one thing but determination and the way these boys go about their cricket, we understand now it’s not going to be easy,” the Australian said.
“Pakistan are a quality unit so we’re going to have to train hard, put our thinking caps on and play smarter rather than use brute force.
“The conditions here may not suit the brute force style of play but once we have a look at the centre wicket, we can then go about accordingly — training accordingly, working out strategies and going forward that way.”
West Indies have made two changes to the 13-man squad that suffered a 3-0 whitewash to England last month, bringing in Chadwick Walton and Miguel Cummins for Carlos Brathwaite and Kraigg Brathwaite.
Carlos Brathwaite, the hero of last year’s T20 World Cup in India, was dropped for poor form while opener Kraigg Brathwaite was replaced because of his inability to score quickly at the top of the order.
Law said he expected the new additions to the squad to display their skills throughout the series.
“Miguel’s been part of our squad since I’ve been here. I like what he offers. He’s a good death bowling option and he’s got a bit of extra zip as well so it’s a great back up for guys like Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph,” he explained.
“Chadwick Walton I saw him for the first time in the flesh during the T20 series. He had an outstanding 50-overs tournament (Regional Super50).
“He scored a hundred against England in a warm-up match in St Kitts as well so he comes in with form under his belt, runs that he has scored. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can provide in the top order,” Law said.
The new-look West Indies team arrived in Guyana yesterday and are under pressure to bring their ‘A’ game, in order to avoid the indignity of having to qualify for the next World Cup in 2019.
The ODIs will be crucial, since the top eight teams in the ICC ODI rankings at the end of September 2017 automatically advance to the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.
Pakistan are currently ranked eighth on the ICC ODI rankings table, the last automatic-qualification spot, with 89 points while West Indies are five points behind them in ninth position with 84 points.
If West Indies fail to get into the top eight spots by September, they must participate in the 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifier. That tournament is currently scheduled to be held in Bangladesh, although that may change if Bangladesh – currently ranked seventh with 91 points – gain an automatic qualification.
“We look forward for this tour; it’s just a situation where we need to get out and start the series well. It’s a very short series,” said West Indies skipper Jason Holder, while speaking to reporters at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. Other members of the squad are Devendra Bishoo, Jonathan Carter, Cummins, Gabriel, Joseph, Walton, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell and Rovman Powell.
“It’s a good squad,” Holder pointed out, adding that “there are a couple of changes and it will be a good test; we just need to play good cricket.”
“The series will be crucial and as I said it’s very important that we play good cricket. The T20 series is behind us; this is a new format and we have some fresh faces coming into the squad,” Holder said.
West Indies clash with Pakistan in the second ODI on Sunday and the third next Tuesday, all at the Guyana National Stadium.