SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, CMC – On the heels of an embarrassing whitewash in the preceding Twenty20 series, West Indies’ three-match One-Day International series against Pakistan will take on new value when it bowls off here today.
The reigning T20 World champions showed little of their usual swagger as they suffered heavy defeats in every game and with the tour quickly going horribly wrong, it will be left to the ODI side to arrest the slide, especially with the Test series following.
West Indies’ batting looked a shadow of the fearsome machine it has become in recent years as it stumbled and stuttered on slow pitches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and against both pace and spin.
However, ODI captain Jason Holder said he expected a different approach from his side in the 50-overs format, as batsmen would have the benefit of time on their side to explore the Pakistan attack.
“You have more time. It’s 300 balls in one-day cricket whereas in T20s there are less balls,” he told reporters here Thursday.
“It’s obviously an opportunity for our guys to have a longer look. In terms of our opening batsmen they can have a longer look and not have to run the game down.
“I just think it’s important that we lay that foundation and as we always speak about in the dressing room, it’s always important for one of our top four batsmen to bat as deep as possible and get a big score.
“I think once we do that, more often than not we get a very, very good total and that’s just the way we go about planning our cricket.”
Holder will also be confident that the West Indies fortunes can turn around with the several changes made to the ODI side.
He welcomes the experienced quartet of wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin, left-hander Darren Bravo, left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn and Test vice-captain, Kraigg Brathwaite – though the latter is yet to play an ODI.
Off-spinner Ashley Nurse, another seasoned campaigner in domestic cricket, has also joined the squad along with talented 19-year-old fast bowler Alzarri Joseph and experienced left-hander Jonathan Carter.
The Windies, with the same core of players, were good enough to reach the final of the Tri-Nations Series involving Australia and South Africa back in June in the Caribbean.
And Holder believes they can use that momentum to get the better of Pakistan and also improve their status in the international rankings, with qualification for the 2019 World Cup also in mind.
“Obviously with the points system and the way the ICC has structured the cricket going forward, we have to take each game as a very, very serious game,” Holder pointed out.
“Every game is points-related obviously and the points are very close [with Pakistan’s] at this present time. We can only control what we can control and that’s us playing good cricket so we just want to start this series.
“We had a very good series last series in the Tri-Nations Series and it’s just important that we continue on from there, keep the momentum going into that one.”
The last time the two teams met in an ODI, West Indies inflicted a heavy defeat on the Asian side, with a 150-run victory during last year’s Cricket World Cup.
However, West Indies have not beaten Pakistan in a bilateral series in 24 years, a disappointing trend which the Caribbean side will be hoping to end.
Holder said West Indies were looking at different aspects of their game – especially the death stages of the innings – during planning sessions and were focused now on executing properly.
“We’ve obviously mentioned the death overs in our meetings. If it is one area we need to pay special attention to is obviously the death,” Holder noted.
“Most teams around the world structure their plans around the first few overs and also pay special attention to the death overs. Most games are won and lost there and I just think it is very, very important that we sit down and plan properly.
“I think most of the bowlers have a general plan of what they are looking to do and it’s just important for me and them to be on the same page. I think once we have good communication in terms of bowlers and the captain, then it make life a bit easier, and if you have options – in terms of a Plan A and then a Plan B – it also makes life a lot easier going into pressure situations.”
The game bowls off at 7 am Eastern Caribbean time.
PAKISTAN – Azhar Ali (captain), Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sohail Khan.
WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels.