Hope, Windies ready for new era under Sammy
WEST INDIES captain Shai Hope said he was ready for the dawn of another era for his side yesterday when they face the hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first One-day International (ODI) in their series of three.
The 29-year-old Barbadian will lead the number-10-ranked Caribbean side into battle for the first bilateral series against the 19th-ranked Emiratis, looking to further develop the collective talent, and becoming a more formidable fighting force in preparation for the qualification tournament for the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup later this year in India.
It will also be the first occasion for Hope and his teammates to work under the guidance of new white-ball head coach Daren Sammy and his coaching staff that includes fellow former captains Carl Hooper and Floyd Reifer, along with former New Zealand all-rounder, James Franklin, as they try to reverse a sorry record over the past year in which the visitors have won just five of their last 18 ODIs.
“I can definitely commend the communication because I see everyone being clear and frank, and that’s one of the main principles here,” he said in an interview with CWI Media on the eve of the match.
“We didn’t have many training sessions to focus on more physical stuff, but there’s been more stuff based around the mental side of the game and the mindset.
“We know that Sammy loves his stats and his planning, so I think we’re all on the same page where we’re looking to move West Indies cricket forward. I’m excited to be here, and I’m excited to see the guys coming in very nicely now, and I hope we can continue to do good things for West Indies.”
The side is without a number of regular players such as Jason Holder, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Akeal Hosein, and Romario Shepherd because Cricket West Indies agreed to allow them time off to rest and recuperate following their involvement with the gruelling Indian Premier League.
Hope said the main focus of the trip, apart from winning, was seeing players grow into the roles that have been assigned to them, so that a core group can be developed to serve not only the short-term, but long-term interest of the side.
“It’s just simply continued development and trying to get some progression from here in the UAE and trying to see fellows improve in whatever way they can,” he said. “Even though it’s going to be a long and hard journey, I just want to see progression and one per cent of improvement every single day.
“I don’t just see it as another series because every time we step on to the park, the aim is to perform for West Indies, and it gives some new guys the opportunity to showcase their skills on the world stage, but there are also a few members of the qualifiers squad, so it gives us some prep in the meantime towards that important task.
“I just want to see the guys continue to grow. The main thing for me is development. Over time, we are going to get better, and hopefully that one per cent [of improvement] can be shown here in the UAE.”