Confident WI looking to blow away Afghans
GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC):
West Indies will hope to avoid any embarrassing hiccups and impose their obvious superiority on minnows Afghanistan when the two teams meet in the opening day/night one-day international of the three-match series here today.
The preceding Twenty20 series, which ended in a clean sweep for the hosts, highlighted the massive gulf between the two sides, and the one-day side will be heavily favoured to extend that success in the three contests at the Darren Sammy National Stadium.
More significantly, the series - regardless of the weakness of the opposition - offers West Indies a golden opportunity to turn the page on a recent run of troubling results that have seen them win just once in their last 12 outings in bilateral series.
And captain Jason Holder was quick to reiterate the importance of the tour, urging his players to be at their best and to ensure a series win.
"I think we all know the importance of this series. We've just come off of the Tests, a tough loss against Pakistan in the last one-day series," the all-rounder said yesterday.
"I felt we showed some promise there. We had a lot of good positives coming out of that series, but we didn't get over the line in terms of the end result."
West Indies are currently ranked ninth in the international one-day rankings, only above Afghanistan in 10th and Zimbabwe in 11th. It is a ranking that caused them to miss out on the ongoing Champions Trophy in England and forced them to turn their attention to the Asian side.
Regardless of the weakness of the opposition, however, Holder said that he had much regard for their bowling attack, one which included the likes of exciting teenage leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
He explained that while he was keen on using the series to give each member of his 13-man squad a chance to play, winning was the chief priority, and this would be the ultimate focus of the series.
Today's contest bowls off at 2:30 p.m.
WEST INDIES: Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell.
AFGHANISTAN: Asghar Stanikzai, Noor Ali Zadran, Javid Ahmadi, Usman Ghani, Rahmat Shah Zarmati, Nasir Jamal, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Gulbuddin Naib, Rashid Khan Arman, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Shapoor Zadran, Amira Hamza Hotak, Dawlat Zadran, Afsar Zazai, Farid Malik.