FORMER WEST Indies cricket team batsman and manager Bryan Davis is not worried by the regional team’s defeat to Afghanistan, by 29 runs, under the Duckworth/Lewis method, in their ICC One Day Internationals (ODI) World Cup Qualifiers warm-up match in Harare, Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
Afghanistan posted a score of 163 runs for nine wickets in a game which was reduced to 35-overs-per-side, while the West Indies, chasing a revised target of 140 from 35 overs, were bowled out for 111 in 26.4 overs.
In a telephone interview, Davis commented, “I don’t think too much of the result in a warm-up match. I believe a warm-up match is for you to spot where your weaknesses are or if your team’s ready or not.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of they’ll lose their confidence or they’ll worry,” he continued.
“I prefer to win, it’s a warm-up match but I don’t think they can put too much emphasis.”
The ex-TT opener noted, “Some top-class players would not have the same approach that they’ll take in a ‘big’ match. I don’t think anyone should read too much into it.”
Davis said the real test will come when the Qualifiers bowl off on Sunday, with 10 teams – West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, United Arab Emirates and hosts Zimbabwe – vying for two places at the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.
“Let’s say they had beaten Afghanistan, they might have said ‘this thing is a laugh’ and they might have gone into this competition very lackadaisical,” Davis said.
“They would figure ‘this is going to be easy’. But now they’ve lost this, they’ll realise they’re up against it and will have to put an extra effort into it.”
West Indies, champions of the first two ODI World Cups, in 1975 and 1979 (both in England), have struggled over the past three years and, at the cut-off stage (September 30 2017), they were ninth in the ICC ODI rankings and, hence, did not receive automatic World Cup qualification.
According to Davis, “It’s very sad to think we have reached this stage.
“As a past West Indian player, that’s a shame and embarrassment for us to reach the stage where we are fighting to play with all these minnows to qualify.”
He stated, “West Indies (are) favourites only because of where they have been past World Cup winners. But the West Indies didn’t do much in the last year to really be any sort of favourites. Afghanistan are doing very well (and) playing some great cricket.
“All these other teams have something to fight for, West Indies now are trying to defend a good name. They could be in a lot of trouble unless they approach it well,” Davis ended.