CANBERRA, Australia, CMC – West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson said yesterday the Caribbean side needed to make the most of tomorrow’s warm-up clash with the Prime Minister’s XI, as they prepare to face Australia in a five-match one-day series starting later in the week.
The contest, scheduled for Manuka Oval, is the only tour fixture before West Indies square off with the Aussies starting with a doubleheader in Perth next Friday and Sunday. “We’re hoping we can hit the ground running. We’ve just come out of a tournament (Caribbean Twenty20) at home so everyone has been playing cricket and the guys have shown good form,” Gibson said.
“We believe we’ve got a good mix of some young players and some very experienced players.” He added: “This is our one opportunity for preparation and it gives us a good chance to get some practice. We’re looking forward to it and we want to entertain the Prime Minister with a full ground and hopefully we put on a good show. “But the main aim is to get our preparation right for the One-Day Series which begins in Perth on Friday.”
Last time West Indies faced Australia, they pulled off a thrilling 2-2 tie in a five-match one-day series in the Caribbean last year.
The series sparked an enterprising run by West Indies which was capped by their spectacular triumph in the Twenty20 World Cup in October, when they beat hosts Sri Lanka in the final.
Though obviously still savouring the thrill of that triumph, Gibson said his side now needed to focus on improving their one-day ranking and doing better in that format.
“We are the T20 World Champions and we are proud of what we achieved in that tournament, but that doesn’t put any added pressure on the team. Hopefully with that victory and what we achieved more people come and watch us,” Gibson pointed out.
“It’s something we have to move on from and think about moving up the ladder in One-Day cricket and getting ourselves in the mix with the best teams in the world. We believe we’re a top team, but we now have to show it with the way we play.”
Australia are coming off a tough one-day series against Sri Lanka where they battled to a 2-2 draw, before also losing Saturday’s opening Twenty20 of the doubleheader.Despite these results, Gibson was quick to brush aside any suggestions of West Indies capitalising on chinks in the Aussies’ armour.
“I don’t know if they’re vulnerable … we try not to get caught up in that though, we’re just gearing for five tough One-Day International games and a tough T20 to come,” he said.
The fixture will bowl off at 11:20 pm tonight (Eastern Caribbean time).
PM XI – Ricky Ponting (captain), Brad Haddin, Fawad Ahmed, Jono Dean, Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Alister McDermott, Gurinder Sandhu, Ashton Turner, Nick Winter (12th man)
WEST INDIES – Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice captain), Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Narsingh Deonarine, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Kieran Powell, Tino Best, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Devon Thomas