West Indies Coach Phil Simmons said yesterday that his team was upbeat ahead of Friday’s opening match of the 2016 Tri-Nations One-Day International (ODI) series adding that the two losses suffered during their recent practice matches have not affected the team’s goal.
Skipper Jason Holder and his men arrived at the Eugene F. Correia (Ogle) International Airport yesterday afternoon ahead of the three Day/Night matches to be played along with Australia and South Africa.
Simmons, the former West Indies batsman told local media that the World T20 champs are solely focused on winning the tournament.
“Any tournament you go into the first aspect about it is winning and that’s how I play the game, to win every time so that’s how we will play, as a team and we will look for the best way to win the tournament”, said Simmons.
While the two visiting sides will be fielding their best limited overs teams, the hosts will have to depend on the younger players in the absence of senior limited overs players like Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell.
Simmons shrugged off the topic of his missing senior men and said his focus is on their two opponents.
“I don’t want to go back into that, we are here to play against the two teams and that’s what we are going to do,” he said.
The Caribbean side got off on the wrong foot ahead of the tournament as they lost both of their practice matches against a Barbados XI recently but the 53-year-old former West Indies all-rounder declared that the losses were not that much of a worry, as he was confident that what he had seen during the team’s preparatory camp was good enough.
“We played two warm-up games but we had five players missing so I’m not too worried because it was good practice for the guys. We had a
good camp where the guys worked hard so that was the important thing,” he added.
Present to welcome the team at the airport was Director of Sports Christopher Jones, Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) President Drubahadur and Vice-President Fizul Bacchus along with Digicel Head of Marketing Jacqueline James and executives Vidya Sanicharran and Louanna Abrams, who provided the players with SIM cards for use during their stay.
Drubahadur said that locally, preparations are going well from a logistical perspective while security will be of top service during the next few days. Jones, during his brief comment, noted that the matches were a part of the country’s 50th Jubilee celebrations and encouraged Guyanese to support the local leg of the competition.
The home team will have their first practice session today at Providence between 14:00hrs and 17:00hrs while the South Africans and Australians who arrive today, will have their sessions on Wednesday from 09:00hrs to 12:00hrs and from 14:00hrs to 17:00hrs.
West Indies battle South Africa on Friday in the first match, which they follow up with a mouthwatering match against the number one ranked Australia on Sunday June 5. The last match on Tuesday June 8 will see Australia and South Africa locking horns. All the games are Day/Night encounters and commence at 13:00hrs. Gates open at 11:00hrs.
West Indies Squad: Jason Holder (capt), Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor.