Mohammed eyeing permanent return
DHAKA, Bangladesh (CMC):
Jason Mohammed hopes to use his unexpected call-up for the One-Day International (ODI) series here, starting next week, to force his way back into the West Indies side on a permanent basis.
Prior to his selection for the three-match series, the 34-year-old right-hander had not featured for the Caribbean side in two and a half years, but now sees light at the end of the tunnel for his international career.
Mohammed said he welcomed the huge responsibility of leading the ODI squad, especially in the circumstances with so many inexperienced players included.
“I’ve been out for two years now and obviously, I have a great role in leading the team but personally I look forward to the challenge,” Mohammed said.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to have a good series and really put my hands up for when the full-strength team is back so I can really get my place back in that team.
“With the World Cup coming up, it’s an opportunity for all of us here to try and put our hands up to get into the original team when the full squad is back.”
RUN OF LOW SCORES
Ironically, Mohammed’s last two ODIs came against Bangladesh in the Caribbean, when he managed only 22 runs in the series.
The failures came against the backdrop of a run of low scores and he was subsequently dropped after averaging just eight from the last six matches of his 28-game career.
However, Mohammed said the recall, after 10 players declined selection for the tour due to concerns over the COVID-19 situation here, was all the inspiration he needed to impress selectors again.
“I’ve been out of international cricket a couple years now so obviously, to motivate myself is not going to be difficult because here is where I want to be, playing international cricket,” he pointed out.
“As I said before, it’s a huge role I have to fill, being the leader of the Caribbean team, but it’s something that I’m accustomed to doing – captaining and playing.
“Obviously, it’s a lot different here because it’s international cricket but there’s no added pressure because of that.”
Mohammed will have a huge challenge on his hands, with the Windies up against a strong Bangladesh side known to be a formidable unit on home soil.
Further, the Trinidadian will lead a squad with nine debutants, and will now be without leg-spinning all-rounder Hayden Walsh, who tested positive on Thursday for COVID-19.
But Mohammed said he relishes the challenge while stressing that his key role will be providing guidance for the younger players.
“There are not a lot of senior guys around, there are a lot of young faces in the team and a lot of guys will be making their debuts,” he noted.
“My job will be to try and make them as relaxed and calm [as possible], try and guide them in the right direction, especially on the field [and with] the young bowlers.
“There’s not much you can really do at international level. I think everyone understands their game well although they’re pretty young guys.
“So it’s just for me to go through the plans [with them] and for them to try and execute that, and as I said, just try and keep them with clear thoughts and relaxed as possible to try and execute the job.”
The first ODI bowls off at the Shere-e-Bangla National Stadium next Wednesday.