Head coach Phil Simmons is confident the one-day series defeat to Australia will have little or no impact on West Indies’ performance in the four-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan starting at Kensington Oval on Wednesday.
West Indies lost 2-1 to the Aussies in a three-match ODI series here Monday night but Simmons said with the return of several T20 specialists like Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Chris Gayle, the unit would be rejuvenated.
“As you saw in the T20 series [against Australia], the T20 squad seems to be clicking,” Simmons said Tuesday.
“The players coming back in who had a little bit of a rest is always going to be a huge motivation. The likes of Bravo, Russell, Chris Gayle who’ve all had rest and will come back into the series now, and it’s going to be a boost for the team, any way you look at it.”
West Indies have never beaten Pakistan in a multi-match T20 series and in fact, have won just one of their last 10 matches against the Asian side.
Simmons said they were aware of the dangers posed by the visitors, who will be led by star batsman Babar Azam, and said plans were in place to counter them.
“We have planning for every team we’re going to play against so Pakistan will be no different,” Simmons noted.
“We have the way how we want to play and also the way how we want to play specifically against Pakistan so there’s always planning for each series and each game.
“They’re no different because we know they’re an extremely dangerous team and we can’t take them for granted.”
He continued: “They have good spinners, they have young fast bowlers who have been doing well in international cricket and they have a few young batters who have come out recently and shown that they want to be part of the World Cup coming up for Pakistan.
“We have to make sure we nullify all those threats in order for us to win.”
The home side are coming off a strong 4-1 drubbing of Australia in St Lucia earlier this month and the Pakistan series is expected to be the last before the T20 World Cup bowls off in October in United Arab Emirates.
And Simmons said the series would be a good test of the progress the side had made over the last few months, in preparation for the ICC showpiece.
“We have four games against one of the tougher teams in World cricket for us, because no matter what format, we always have good competitive cricket against Pakistan,” he stressed.
“So we’re looking forward to seeing where we’re at. At the end of these games, we’re going to know where our team is from a gelling point of view and if we gel well we’re very hard to beat.
“So that’s what we’re looking at and that’s what I’m looking at for this final series before the World Cup.”
Apart from the quality batsmanship of Azam, if there’s one Pakistani player who might have a major impact in the series for the visitors it is Hasan Ali. Hasan’s cricketing ability, charismatic personality and outgoing disposition give him a distinctly confider swagger.
It isn’t just style, though; there’s substance to go with it. He missed the first two T20Is against England, but played crucial parts with both bat and ball in the thriller at Old Trafford. His nascent rise as perhaps Pakistan’s most valuable power hitter down the order is perfectly timed, coming as it does ahead of a series in the nation that has revolutionised the power game in the shortest format.
Veteran Mohammed Hafeez, who has experience in the Caribbean Premier League, could also play a prominent part in the series.
Coach Misbah-ul-Haq admitted after the England series that Pakistan weren’t making much headway in working out how to resolve their middle-order issues. That, arguably, is what series like these are for, so expect some tinkering over the next few games.
Azam underscored the importance of correcting the mistakes his team made in the series against England.
“All those bad mistakes we committed in England, we don’t want to repeat them. We discussed them and we are taking forward all the learning curves. Batting and bowling is one thing but we are putting extra, a lot of time into fielding in practice. This is an important series in a way that we will check out different combinations and check our bench strength,” he said.
Wednesday’s opening T20I bowls off at 10 am.
West Indies (possible): 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 6 Andre Russell, 7 Kieron Pollard (capt)/Fabian Allen, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Hayden Walsh, 10 Obed McCoy, 11 Fidel Edwards.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 2 Babar Azam (capt), 3 Fakhar Zaman, 4 Sohaib Maqsood, 5 Mohammad Hafeez/Sharjeel Khan, 6 Azam Khan, 7 Shadab Khan/Usman Qadir, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Mohammad Hasnain, 11 Shaheen Shah Afridi (CMC/Cricinfo)