Sammy expects better showing
It’s time to change the lyrics of the vintage reggae hit Keep On Doing What You Are Doing, Sammy!
It is necessary if the new-look West Indies team are to stay in tune with the beat of Pakistan in today’s crucial third Digicel One-Day International at Kensington Oval.
On a day Barbados celebrates National Heroes Day, embattled West Indies captain Darren Sammy must not only play with pride and passion, but produce with the bat and ball.
The Windies trail Pakistan 2-0 after losing the double-header in St Lucia, and unless Sammy or a couple of his teammates come up with something heroic, then the visitors will wrap up the five-match series with two matches to spare.
In a pre-match interview yesterday, the skipper acknowledged that the Windies were at least 50 runs short in both contests when they managed totals of 221 and 220, and Pakistan won comfortably by eight and seven wickets.
“All the batsmen are aware of the team goals. We reviewed the last two games and we identified the areas where we need to improve,” he said.
“The dot-ball percentage in both matches has been over 50 per cent; so you are looking at over 150 balls out of 300 which are dots.
“That’s an area [which] we definitely have to improve on.”
The West Indies batsmen have struggled to score freely against the variations of Pakistan’s captain and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi, and have been mesmerized by Saeed Ajmal’s off breaks and Mohammad Hafeez’s doosras.
Ajmal has delivered five maidens while conceding just 24 and 23 runs in his two ten-over spells, while Hafeez has match figuers of 10-2-36-1 and 10-0-38-2.
Only Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons have managed half-centuries, while Marlon Samuels’ scores, on his return to international cricket after a two-year suspension, have been two off 19 balls and a tortured 29 off 74 deliveries. It has also been a testing time for local boy Kirk Edwards, with knocks of 28 off 49 balls and four off 12 deliveries.
“The batsmen are aware of that and I know that with the help of Dessie [Desmond Haynes, batting consultant], showing them different ways in which to counteract the spin,
I’m confident that we will see a better display or some more intent, whether it is the running between the wickets, shot selection and stuff like that,” Sammy said.
Rookie leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, with two wickets in each game, has been the only West Indian bowler to dismiss a Pakistani batsman in the two ODIs, with the other going by the run out route.
But with the Kensington Oval pitch expected to favour the seam bowlers, Sammy reckoned the fast bowlers could come into their own.
There was also the possibility that either Ravi Rampaul or Andre Russell might replace Antiguan leg-spinner Anthony Martin, who bowled tidily, conceding just 36 runs off ten overs on his debut.
“If we post a total of 265 to 270 plus, we stand a very good chance of defending that. We need to take wickets,” Sammy noted.
“Taking wickets is a good form of putting pressure on the opposition. So that’s an area we can really target
“Pakistan play well, but sometimes once you get into [the] top six batsmen, they could crumble. We are aware of that and we [have] just got to go out there and execute those plans we have,” he added.
The West Indies were unable to have a final outdoor net session yesterday at Kensington because of rain, which has been falling for the past two days, causing ground staff to keep the covers on the pitch.
But pitch supervisor Winston Reid, a former Barbados left-arm spinner, believes the pitch, which should have a fair deal of moisture at the 9:30 a.m. start, should be a fair one for both bowlers and batsmen.