MANCHESTER, England – West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick has urged the West Indies to remain united in the face of a difficult World Cup campaign. He has also warned that now is not the time to “look for excuses”, ahead of their key clash with New Zealand on Saturday.
The Caribbean side slumped to a devastating seven-wicket defeat to Bangladesh yesterday, leaving them seventh in the 10-team table on three points and with a single win in five outings.
And with another defeat to the Black Caps all but likely to crush the Windies’ hopes of a top four place, Estwick said it was now time for the side to display their mettle and take responsibility.
“We can stand here, saying ‘if this’ and ‘if that’ – we didn’t play well, we’ve lost the cricket game and that’s that,” Estwick said of the defeat to Bangladesh.
“We’ve got to come back stronger. We’ve still got four games left in the tournament and we can’t point fingers or apportion blame to anyone.
“We have to stick together; that’s how good teams pull through. We’ve got to stop looking for excuses and start finding solutions.”
West Indies handed Bangladesh a challenging target of 322 but the Tigers produced their highest ever successful run chase in One-Day Internationals to win with 51 balls remaining.
They were guided by Shakib Al-Hasan’s unbeaten 124 and Liton Das’ unbeaten 94, the pair posting a record unbroken fourth wicket stand of 189 to see their side home comfortably.
Estwick said the Windies’ total had been well short of a really competitive one, especially considering the size of the Somerset County Ground.
“If you look at it, I thought we were 60 runs short on that pitch and on that size field. We then didn’t take the opportunities that came our way,” he pointed out.
“We were always behind Bangladesh once they got through to 70 for one. The big players didn’t kick on but saying that, we made 321 runs and should have been able to defend that.”
West Indies relied on five quicks for the contest after overlooking frontline spinner Ashley Nurse. However, the tactics of using aggressive short-pitched bowling, which was successful against Pakistan and Australia, failed to produce results this time around as Bangladesh feasted on the Windies’ attack on a good batting strip.
While Estwick stood by the decision to omit a specialist spinner, he was also quick to praise Bangladesh who have now beaten West Indies eight times in their last 10 ODI meetings.
“Four years ago, everyone was saying how exciting and refreshing West Indies cricket looked,” the former Barbados fast bowler contended.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If we’d bowled spin against Bangladesh, everyone would have said that we should have stuck to our strengths. Four games down the road, it’s the worst tactic in the world.
“Give Bangladesh credit. They played well and they’re an improving side. They’ve played us now five times in the recent past and have beaten us every time. We just have to go away and put our heads together and find a solution.
“We’re not down and out yet. We’re going to fight and come back harder.”
In addition to New Zealand, the Windies also must face the powerful India team on July 27 in a must-win encounter.
Meanwhile, middle-order mainstay Shai Hope called on his teammates to dig deeper and find a way to win the vital contest against the Kiwis.
“It’s now must-win. We have to put everything into getting those runs [on the board],” Hope said.
“As a team, we have to go back to the drawing board, find solutions and go and win the game.”
The right-hander top-scored with 96 in the West Indies loss to Bangladesh but despite his performance, he copped criticism for the pace of his innings. He faced 120 balls and struck just four fours and a six before falling in the 47th over with West Indies still under 300.
The 25-year-old said while there was a need to increase his strike rate, he had also been mindful of the importance to hold the innings together in partnerships.
“Whenever I step to the crease, it’s a case of batting as long as possible. [You] don’t leave it for anyone else in the final overs – you just have to take responsibility,” Hope said.
“I can massively improve it [the strike rate]. Whatever I can do to improve, I’ll do that but it was a bit of a difficult spot for me in the sense that we keep losing wickets in the middle overs and putting the lower half under a bit of pressure.
“Having said that we need to keep the innings together and get as many runs as we can, especially in the back-end.”
Hope has been West Indies’ most successful ODI in recent years, averaging 50 from 59 matches with six hundreds. (CMC)