Windies looking to atone in ODIs
Published: Thursday | May 21, 2009
LEEDS, England (CMC):
West Indies will try to salvage something from their tour of England when they start a three-match one-day international series today at Headingley.
West Indies would have been disappointed after they meekly surrendered the Wisden Trophy in the preceding two-Test series and have decided to focus on bringing England back down to earth with a series victory in the ODIs.
"It's a fresh start so obviously both teams will be looking to get that headstart by winning the first game and taking it from there. We're actually looking forward to Thursday (today) - it should be interesting," said West Indies skipper, Chris Gayle, on the eve of the match.
A successful performance in the three ODIs would go a little way in West Indies redeeming themselves in the eyes of their fans, after England swept them 2-0 in the Tests.
"I'm very disappointed in the manner in which we lost the Test series," said Gayle. "At the same time, we have to try and put that behind us and this (ODI series) is our main focus right now.
"We had a job to do, but we did not accomplish that job. We lost the Test series 2-0 and it was very disappointing.
"But we have to try and overcome these situations, try to make the necessary adjustments, and adapt to situations as quickly as possible and just try and get on with it."
West Indies have been boosted with the addition of some new troops, most specifically Dwayne Bravo.
The highly regarded all-rounder missed out on the Tests and appears to have worked himself to full fitness in the Indian Premier League. He should give a lift to West Indies in all three departments, especially the fielding, where he tends to be a livewire.
Compatriots Kieron Pollard and Ravi Rampaul, as well as batsman Runako Morton, have also joined a squad which Gayle believes is very sound.
"We are a good ODI team, no two ways about it but, at the same time, we have lost a Test series," said Gayle.
"It's a new format of the game now - a one-day match - and I'm sure we'll put up a better fight in this ODI series.
"We're looking to gain some momentum leading up to the Twenty20 World Cup. Obviously, these three ODIs are very important."
The big question remains whether Gayle and his side can conquer the chilly conditions and put pressure on the home team.
"When you come into conditions like this, it's not suitable for our team," said Gayle.
"But at the same time, we have to make that adjustment and we have to grind it and bite it and go out there and try and get the job done regardless what the situation is."
England, on the other hand, have been dealt a severe setback when Kevin Pietersen was ruled out of the series after sustaining an Achilles problem.
Pietersen suffered the injury during the second Test victory at Chester-le-Street and has been ruled out of the remainder of the series after training yesterday.
Pietersen will undertake a period of rest and treatment during the series ahead of England's World Twenty20 campaign.
"I'm extremely disappointed to be missing the (ODI) series as I was looking forward to playing a significant part in what should be an exciting and closely fought ODI series," he said.
"The medical advice is to rest the Achilles and although I'm frustrated to be leaving a happy and successful dressing room, I'm absolutely confident this will help me overcome what has up until now been a minor ongoing injury.
"I hate missing out on playing for England, but understand that in this instance it's necessary in order to overcome the injury.
"I'm looking forward to being back in the England line-up for the World Twenty20 and the rest of an exciting summer of cricket."
WEST INDIES: Chris Gayle (capt), Denesh Ramdin (vice-capt), Lionel Baker, Sulieman Benn, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Runako Morton, Kieron Pollard, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor.
ENGLAND: Andrew Strauss (capt), Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson.