Windies face huge challenge against India
Port of Spain – West Indies face a monumental challenge in turning around their wretched One-day International form when they face powerhouses India in a difficult three-match series starting on Friday.
The Windies are coming off a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of Bangladesh in Guyana last week, their fourth series defeat in five this year also marking their third clean sweep since last January.
More significantly, the Caribbean side have not beaten India in a series in nearly two decades, leaving their odds of success over the next week at really long odds.
West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran urged his side on Thursday to conjure up the courage necessary to buck their losing trend.
“I just want to see the guys continue to fight, both [with] bat and ball,” he said. “I think the last one-day game we played against Bangladesh in tough conditions, we tried our best and we felt like we had a chance of winning the game and we almost did.”
Pooran will be playing on home soil for the first time since his appointment as full time captain.
“For this India series, I just want us to fight – dig deep and just fight as long as possible,” he said. “And you never know, if we stay in the fight as long as possible things can happen for us, so I want to see that fight from every individual on the team.
“All the players are motivated. Everyone wants to do well, and that’s really fantastic to see. We just need to have really good conversations, continue to believe in each other, and continue to back our skills.
“I think the guys are gelling really well at the moment. We know for a fact in the back of our minds that we want to win cricket games and everyone is doing everything necessary to perform on the cricket field.”
West Indies have found themselves woefully short of experience in recent series, with elite all-rounder Jason Holder, batsman Shimron Hetmyer, and Evin Lewis all unavailable for varying reasons.
Holder has returned for this series after missing tours of the Netherlands and Pakistan, and the multi-format series against Bangladesh, and he is expected to provide a boost in all departments.
Pooran said, however, his side remained inexperienced, especially in the ODI format, and stressed they will not be placing themselves under unnecessary pressure even though they wanted to win.
“The pressure is always on to win cricket games, but we as a team, we’re definitely not feeling any pressure in terms of winning,” he said.
“I think we understand as a young group, we know for a fact that we’re building to something and that’s the World Cup next year. We just got together as a young group, and it’s for us to understand ODI cricket a bit more, and understand what is the right template to play.”
He said: “I don’t think the pressure is on us to win. We just believe in doing the right things for longer periods of time and results will take care of themselves.
“Yes we do want to win, but you don’t just say you want to win and go on a cricket field and win cricket games. It’s difficult, especially playing against teams that are playing ODI cricket really good. We need to put in the hard work.”
India will be fielding a slightly weakened squad for the series, with master batsman Virat Kohli, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, and pacer Jasprit Bumrah all rested.
WEST INDIES (from): Nicholas Pooran (captain), Shamarh Brooks, Brandon King, Rovman Powell, Keacy Carty, Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Jayden Seales.
INDIA (from): Shikhar Dhawan (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh.