Simmons urges ‘complete game’ as Windies target whitewash
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC):
Having already wrapped up the series following a dramatic win in last Thursday’s second One-Day International (ODI) in Barbados, head coach Phil Simmons said that it was important that the West Indies now focussed on putting together the “complete game” in order to achieve a series whitewash of Ireland.
West Indies won the opening game last Tuesday by five wickets at Kensington Oval before pulling off a nerve-wracking one-wicket victory with a ball to spare, to wrap up their first series win on home soil in six years.
However, neither victory was particularly convincing and Simmons said that he now wanted the home side to click in all departments in today’s final ODI here.
“The message is for us to play a complete game and not just bowl well or bat well or field well, but play a complete game and finish the series three-nil,” Simmons said.
“Because I think that two-nil and three-nil is always better than three-ones and two-ones, so I think that’s the crux of the matter here. We need to finish properly and play a full complete 100 overs in the way that we want to play cricket.”
The first ODI was a lacklustre affair where Ireland scraped 180 and West Indies then lost five wickets before overhauling the paltry target, with opener Evin Lewis getting an unbeaten 99 but no other batsman passing 20.
Asked to chase 238 in the second ODI, West Indies’ batsmen again struggled, and the hosts required last over heroics from Hayden Walsh Jr (46 not out) and last man Sheldon Cottrell (seven not out) to win the game.
After an admirable performance on last month’s India tour, Simmons said that the batting group needed to return to those high standards.
“The batsmen need to go back to what we were doing in India and how we were putting scores together,” he pointed out, “where we had proper partnerships up at the top and creating the platform for the big hitters down at the bottom, and we need to make sure we do that in this coming game.”
Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has been the standout player for the West Indies in both games, snatching four-wicket hauls on each occasion to claim Man-of-the-Match honours.
And Simmons believes the 23-year-old’s success has been as a result of his enhanced preparation and maturity.
“[I am happy with what I’m seeing], not just on the pitch, but in the way he prepares and the way he talks about cricket and about bowling,” Simmons noted.