VISAKHAPATNAM, India – After watching India’s batting juggernaut make a mockery of a 300-plus target in Guwahati last Sunday, West Indies captain Jason Holder has urged his side to improve on that effort, in order to challenge India in the second One-Day International tomorrow.
West Indies did well to pile up 322 in the opening ODI after 21-year-old Shimron Hetmyer blasted 106 but Rohit Sharma (152 not out) and captain Virat Kohli (140) made light work of the run chase on a batting paradise, to win it for India with over eight overs remaining.
So, even though pleased the Windies had scaled the rare heights of a score in excess of 300, Holder said it was important they bettered that performance, especially since India’s batting line-up knew no boundaries.
“We all see how the conditions can be here in India and the kind of scores you get here in limited overs cricket are quite high,” Holder told a media conference.
“So you’ve got to be hitting that 300-run barrier more often than not and sometimes a par score could be 320, 340 or 350, and you’ve got to bowl ridiculously well to come out and defend it.”
He continued: “I think it’s a positive to see that we’re batting all 50 overs as well. We’ve been [criticised] in the past for not utilising every single delivery so it’s really good to see our batters put up their hands, get a good score and hopefully we can come and repeat it and keep improving and building on it.”
West Indies were given a hasty start in Guwahati by left-hander Kieran Powell who made 51 before Hetmyer arrived to smash half-dozen fours and a similar number of sixes in a thrilling 78-ball knock.
The hundred was Hetmyer’s third this year and third in his career and Holder said he hoped the left-hander extended this form throughout the series and pushed on to score bigger hundreds.
“It’s good to see a young player come in and score runs and being consistent with it,” said Holder.
“I can only urge him and hope that he continues in that vein. We have a long series ahead – four more games left – so it’s a matter for him to repeat that kind of a performance, regardless of whatever happens.”
He added: “Our batsmen need to be more clinical. If we get in, we have to go the distance.”
West Indies bowlers were put to the sword in the opening ODI. Veteran seamer Kemar Roach went at nearly 7-½ runs per over while debutant fast bowler Oshane Thomas leaked 83 runs from his nine overs.
Disappointingly, the Windies spinners were unable to put the brakes on India’s scoring as off-spinner Ashley Nurse went at exactly nine runs per over and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, seven.
Holder said an improved effort was needed from both Nurse and Bishoo, especially with the wicket expected to give some assistance to the slower bowlers.
“I had a look at the wicket, definitely there is no grass on it. As we have seen, spinners tend to do pretty well here,” he noted.
“Our spinners didn’t do as well as we would have liked in the last game. Credit to the two Indians who played outstanding knocks. I felt Bishoo came into his own in the second spell. He got the wicket of Kohli, which is crucial for his confidence. It’s important for him to be a bit more expressive and look to take wickets.
“Nurse just needs to just build more pressure and take one or two wickets in the middle overs. The wicket might suit a little bit of spin. Hopefully, whoever is picked delivers.”
In the first ODI selectors gave caps to newcomers Thomas and opening batsman Chandrapaul Hemraj and there are two other uncapped players in left-arm fast bowler Obed McCoy and budding batting talent Fabian Allen in the reserves, among a few other inexperienced players. But while West Indies might hope to give everyone a run in the starting XI, it is unlikely that the batting order that made 322 in the last game will be changed, particularly on a pitch where India are likely to pick three spinners.
Game time is 4 a.m. Barbados time. (CMC)
SQUADS: INDIA – Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yujvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed
WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Obed McCoy, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Oshane Thomas.