Six wins, two losses
AFTER passing with flying colours in the Test series, the West Indies now face another examination in One-Day cricket.
While the script won’t be the same and the lowly ranked West Indies will have different questions to answer, inspirational captain Jason Holder believes they can still upset No.1-ranked England in the Colonial Insurance One-Day International series.
But he warns the Windies must be precise in their plans and execute them efficiently if they are to receive top marks when the five-match series bowls off at
at 11 a.m. today.
“We are pretty confident coming into the game. We obviously had some momentum winning the Test series and we got some experienced men in the dressing room,” Holder told
yesterday after their final practice session.
“We packed a pretty heavy punch in terms of our stacking up our team . . . but in order to win the series, we got to be consistent in all three departments [batting, bowling and fielding], and we just got to be really clear in what we got to do,” he noted.
England have won six and lost four of the ten ODIs the teams have contested at the venue but Holder reckons starting the series in Barbados, where they thrashed England by 381 runs to win the first Test a few weeks ago, should be confidence booster for the regional side.
“It is an added boost. We got a few Bajans in the squad and all the guys have played here and some of them have had some really good success here. Psychologically, it is a good boost. Hopefully, our guys can just be precise with their plans and just go out there and execute,” he said.
He said the return of explosive opener Chris Gayle and hard-hitting all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite will also be significant in turning around their fortunes after losing their last nine ODIs against England.
“We all know what these guys can produce so I am really excited for the job ahead. . . . He [Gayle] has done a lot for us over the last couple years . . . . I expect a really good showing from him and he’s up for the challenge,” Holder noted.
Gayle, 39, who has made just one of his 23 ODI centuries at
Kensington Oval where he has scored 503 runs in 11 matches at an average of 45.72, is expected to form a new opening combination with fellow Jamaican left-hander John Campbell.
But Holder admitted that England, who hammered their highest ever ODI total of 481 against Australia at Nottingham last June, have a powerful batting line-up, led by their captain and all-time leading runscorer, Eoin Morgan.
“We must be clinical with our bowling. England pack a very heavy punch in terms of their batting order. They bat very deep and they are a top-ranked side for a reason, so we got to be really precise with our bowling plans and make sure that we are executing our plans and restricting them to as little as possible,” Holder cautioned.
“I think the way One-Day cricket has gone in the last couple of years, 300, 320 is almost a par score nowadays so we got to be very strict with our plans and make sure we are hitting the ground running,” he added.
Holder, who has an unflattering record as Windies’ One-Day captain, losing 41 of 64 matches with just 18 wins – there have been two ties and three no-results – said the Windies don’t mind being regarded as underdogs.
“That’s not a bad tag to have. Obviously, less pressure on us and more pressure on them so we just got to go out there and play the cricket that we want to play and execute whatever plans we come up with within the dressing room,” he said.
This will be the tenth One-Day series between the teams in the Caribbean. The Windies won the first five in 1980 (2-0), 1986 (3-1), 1990 (30), 1994 (3-2) and 1998 (4-1) but have been beaten in the last three, 3-2 in 2009, 2-1 in 2014 and 3-0 in 2017 after drawing 2-2 in 2004.
The Windies also won a replacement One-Day International in Guyana 1990 after torrential rain caused the Test match there to be abandoned.
Overall, England have won 49 and lost 42 with five no-results in 96 ODIs against the West Indies since 1973.
by EZRA STUART
WHAT’S IN THE NUMBER: Jason Holder displaying the number of days ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
ON THE BALL: West Indies interim head coach Richard Pybus (left) and all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite examining a ball during practice at Kensington
Oval yesterday. (Pictures by Kenmore Bynoe.)