ANDRE Russell’s decision to face all six legitimate deliveries from Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc on Wednesday has received the backing of West Indies T20 team stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran.
In reply to Australia’s total of 185 runs for six wickets, in the fourth T20 International at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, Gros Islet, St Lucia, the West Indies needed 11 runs off the final over, to go 4-0 up in the five-match series.
Entering the over on 179/6, with Hayden Walsh Jnr at the non-striker’s end, Russell turned down four singles, off the first four balls.
Russell swung the fifth ball from Starc to deep midwicket but refused to run, but he hit a six off the final ball, which proved to be of academic interest.
During a Zoom media conference on Thursday, Pooran said, “We thought that was the best decision for the team.
“Andre, batting six balls, we know that’s two hits. If he had hit two sixes, then everyone would say that’s the best decision. We backed him 100 per cent and we believed he did the right thing.”
Australia produced their best batting display of the T20 International series thus far, with Man of the Match Mitchell Marsh continuing his consistent form with 75. Captain Aaron Finch made 53 and Dan Christian 22 not out.
Pooran said, “The first nine overs, they got off to a very good start (96/1). I’m very proud of the guys how they came back after the (first) interruption of rain. We restricted Australia to 189. They could have easily gotten 210 (or) 220 and make it difficult for us.”
The West Indies were 75/1 after the six-over power play, but faltered in the middle overs, as they were 133/5 after the 16th over.
Russell (24 not out) and Fabian Allen (29) produced sixth-wicket stand of 46 off three overs to give the hosts a chance to secure victory before Starc held firm in the final over.
Asked about the struggles in the middle overs, Pooran replied, “That’s an area of concern for us but we’re not that worried. It happened a bit (on Wednesday) but, if you look at the first three games, we were fantastic.
“One game doesn’t change much for us,” he continued. “It’s just for us to sit back, review, move forward and do the right things.”
The West Indies were beaten 3-2 against South Africa in their five-match series, and, after this Australia series (the final game is set for Friday evening in St Lucia), they will face Pakistan in another five-match series later this month.
About the WI team’s progression, Pooran said, “A lot of players are playing their roles, they’re starting to play better and better each game. It makes the job easier for the captain and the coach.
With regards to his patchy batting form (he has scored 136 runs in his last nine matches), Pooran pointed out, “I would like to score more runs, for myself and for the team.
“I’m not worried about myself. I’m getting starts, which is very important. A couple months ago, I was not even getting starts.”
Pooran is leading the team in the absence of Kieron Pollard, who suffered a hamstring injury during the South Africa T20 Internationals.
Is he enjoying his role as captain thus far? Pooran responded, “On this team, I’m very happy and thankful that there are so much experienced players (with) a lot of knowledge, especially in the T20 game. In this series, it’s been easy for me.”