PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – West Indies are not taking any comfort from coaching controversy overshadowing India’s trip to the Caribbean, as they look to turn the tables on the powerhouses in the opening One-Day International of the five-match series bowling off here today.
Head coach Anil Kumble, who oversaw India’s recent ICC Champion’s Trophy campaign when they reached the final before losing to Pakistan, dramatically stepped aside this week citing an untenable relationship with captan Virat Kohli.
And with all eyes focussed on the side for possible fall-out during the series, West Indies captain Jason Holder said his side would be focussing on their execution and not on India’s internal problems.
“That’s no concern for me. At the end of the day, we’ve still got to play cricket. We’ve got to focus on West Indies and what’s best for us,” Holder told a media throng here Thursday.
“India will deal with their own problems. We’ve just got to face them and play them.”
He added: “Once we do the right things and execute our plans, we have a good chance of beating India. But we have to play cricket on the day.
“We set out our plans – batting, bowling and also in the field. I think once we hit those targets, more often than not we will end up on the winning side.
“In the past we let ourselves down in the field – our batting hasn’t been the most consistent and those are obviously areas we need to address.”
West Indies have kept the same 13 from the recent Afghanistan series but will be hoping for a diametrically opposite performance to the one that saw them struggle to a 1-1 draw in the three-match series in St Lucia.
The hosts crashed to a shocking 63-run defeat in the opener and then struggled to overhaul a modest target of 136 in the second ODI before winning in the 40th over.
Once again, the Windies batting lay at fault. Not a single batsman scored a half-century and for the exception of Shai Hope, very few displayed any enterprise against the then ICC Associate side.
Holder said a lack of experience in batting had led to their recent woes and contended that once the young team found their footing, performances would improve.
“Experience counts a lot for it. The more we play together as a unit, the more guys will understand the international circuit and how the one-day game has transitioned,” the all-rounder explained.
“If you look at our team, most of the guys are now budding, looking to make their mark on the international circuit so I believe if we stay together and we start to get some performances, have a solid foundation, hit some targets in terms of minimum standards – and once we hit them consistently then we can improve.”
West Indies enter the game on backs of a poor run, without a win in their last five series and having won just three of their last 16 ODIs.
The record has seen them lose pace in the race for automatic qualfiication for the 2019 Cricket World Cup, where they need to be in the top eight in the ICC rankings by September 30.
West Indies are currently ranked ninth and need a positive result in the series against India to gain valuable rankings points.
WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell, Kesrick Williams.
INDIA – Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Umesh Yadav.