PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Head coach Stuart Law says West Indies’ batting in the upcoming five-match one-day series against India will be critical to the series outcome and has urged his batsmen to show more enterprise and play to their potential.
The Windies batting struggled badly in the recent series against minnows Afghanistan and now face a huge Test against the powerful Indians, who are already heavily favourites to win the June 23 to July 6 series.
“We’ve spoken long and hard. The batsmen know they have to start producing, there’s no secret to that,” Law told reporters Tuesday.
“Our bowlers have been doing a great job consistently so now it’s time for the batsmen to stick their hands up and want to be out there, want to score runs against a pretty formidable opponent in India – one of the best teams in the world if not the best.
“It’s a great challenge for our boys and I’m sure they are all looking forward to it.”
West Indies are coming off a disappointing 1-1 draw in the three-match series against Afghanistan where they lost the first match by 63 runs, won the second by four wickets before the decisive third game was rained off without a ball bowled.
The hosts struggled in both games, failing to chase down 213 in the opener and then labouring to overhaul a modest 136 in the second, only reaching their target in the 40th over.
Not a single batsman managed a half-century in the two matches but Law said the issue was not one of skill but the mental approach.
“To be honest, I just think it’s a matter of believing in their own ability a little bit more – have that self-belief, go out and remain positive,” he pointed out.
“Sometimes it looks like we are caught in two minds. Once you’re in two minds, it becomes clouded in there and then you can’t execute your skills so I’m just talking to them all the time, [saying] back yourself, be yourself, be positive and the runs will come.”
West Indies’ one-day form has been ordinary over the last eight months, with just three wins in 16 outings – including whitewashes at the hands of Pakistan and England.
They lost 2-1 to Pakistan in a three-match series in April but showed some signs of improvement when they chased down a record 309 to win the opener.
Law said judging from that series, there was no massive gulf between West Indies and the other world teams.
“When you look back at the Pakistan series, Pakistan are now Champions Trophy winners,” he explained.
“We pushed them in a number of games and beat them in a game so to compare apples with apples, we’re not that far away from competing with those guys. It’s just consistently [performing] on a day-in day-out basis.
“India provide a great challenge, not only for the West Indies but any other team playing against them in this day and age. They’ve got some great players but I just want our boys to go out and not worry about the man but the ball coming down and hopefully things will be alright.”
India will arrive in the Caribbean this week still smarting from their defeat to Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy last Sunday in London and Law said the Windies needed to be prepared for the backlash.
“They will be hurting. They went through that tournament over there, were playing great cricket and got done by Pakistan on the day,” he noted.
“I’m sure the guy that leads them Virat Kohli is a very passionate Indian, he loves seeing his team have success so he’ll be driving them a lot harder during this series which we’ve got to be ready for.”
West Indies face India in the first ODI on Friday at Queen’s Park Oval here with the second game of the doubleheader scheduled for Sunday.