Windies eying ODI victory to avoid World Cup qualifier

DHAKA — West Indies head coach Phil Simmons stressed upon the requirements of doing well in the upcoming three-match ODI series against Bangladesh, given the fact that the series is the part of ODI Super League—an important factor that will determine whether they could qualify the 2023 World Cup directly.

Losing points here would be fatal in their aspiration to make it directly which is why Simmons termed the series as ‘mighty important’.

“It is mighty important because you have to catch up in the series. We don’t want to get into the playoffs anymore. We need to start well,” Simmons said here today.

He aspired to do well despite knowing that they are underdogs here because of coming without their 12 first choice players, who pulled out of the tour either due to Covid-19 fears or personal reasons.

But even the first choice team of West Indies struggled here last time when they visited Bangladesh in 2018. They were whitewashed in a two-match Test series before losing the ODI series by 2-1. They however won the three-match T20 series by 2-1.

Afterwards they played four more ODIs against Bangladesh—three in a tri-nation tournament in Ireland and one in the 2019 World Cup and all of the matches they lost to Bangladesh badly.

Last time here they were undone by Bangladesh’s four-pronged spin attack and Simmons expected another spin trail this time also.

“They still have their four main spinners. Whether they use two or three fast bowlers, is something they might try to change. It could mean that we get much better pitches to play on, from a point of view of better batting wickets. You never know. It could be a good thing, but the four spinners will still be there,” he said.

“I am hoping that whether they play four or five spinners, it plays into our hands, and it plays a role in how we think about it. We seem to be underdogs, so I hope it lifts us rather than who they are playing.”

Simmons put faith on Jason Mohammed, who returned to the team after two years and got the captaincy because regular skipper Keiron Pollard pulled out of the tour.

Terming Jason as a ‘good cricket brain’, Simmons said he expected the captain to lead from the front.

“I think he has a good cricket brain. He has captained quite a few West Indies’ age-group teams and also captained Trinidad already. He has that pedigree and ability. I am just expecting him to lead from the front,” he remarked.

Despite being underdogs in the series, Simmon hoped that the new players would stand up to prove their credentials.

“They have all impressed me. They have all had that hunger in their eyes. They have all tried to do everything that we say. They work hard in their game. They have all impressed me,” he pointed out.

The West Indies team will play an inter-squad practice match at BKSP tomorrow after which they would decide on their team for the ODI series, Simmons informed.

“We are close enough but the practice game will be the best indicator. It will give us the notice that we need, give us the idea what the players bring to the table in a game situation. So tomorrow is the final straw,” he concluded.BSS