Windies mull aggression against Shadab in pivotal game

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,  CMC — Head coach Stuart Law has hinted at West Indies batsmen taking the attack to leg-spinner Shadab Khan in today’s pivotal third Twenty20 International at Queen’s Park Oval here.

The 18-year-old Shadab has been a thorn in the Windies side in the series, with Man-of-the-Match four-wicket hauls in each of the two games, to give Pakistan a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

However, Law said Shadab had been “gifted” some of his wickets and needed to be put under some pressure by the Windies batsmen.

“We have plans for everyone. He’s not the only one we’re talking about, we’re talking about everyone else,” the Australian noted.

“So we just need to come up with better execution when we’re out in the middle and that’s what it boils down to.

“He’s bowled very well, but I think we’ve gifted him a few wickets as well. I think we just need to be a little bit more ruthless against him and see what transpires after that.”

Shadab took four for seven in Sunday’s opening game in Barbados to fire Pakistan to a six-wicket win and returned to take four for 14 on Thursday, as the visitors pulled off a dramatic three-run win.

But despite West Indies now facing a second successive series loss in T20s, Law said there was no real added pressure.

“You’re always under pressure, it’s international cricket. T20 games now internationally have far more meaning to them … you’re always under pressure, you’re never not under pressure as a cricketer or cricket coach,” he argued.

“We just have to get our heads together, have a good conversation and turn up on Saturday and play better cricket.”

The performances of several members of the team have come under the spotlight, with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis all getting single digit scores in both games.

Big-hitting all-rounder Rovman Powell, who made his debut in Barbados, has suffered the ignominy of two first-ball ‘ducks’ but Law said the Jamaican should be given the opportunity to learn from his mistakes.

“It’s a difficult game, international cricket. It’s a different mentality, a different pressure out in the middle,” Law explained.

“He’s a young man, he’s got a lot of talent but things take time. Unfortunately we really want kids to come in, play their first game, make a hundred and take five-for. It doesn’t always happen.

“Good things come to those who wait and if we keep working hard with Rov I’m sure he’s got the talent to get through.”

Law, presiding over just his second series after taking up the post last month, said there was enough blame to go around in the batting department.

“We can’t just pin it on one person. There are a lot of guys in that team we need to have chat to but we’re working hard,” he stressed.

“That’s one thing we are doing. We are working hard, we’re trying to get it right. It’s going to take a lot more time [and will need to] make a few more mistakes to learn.”

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