AFTER UNCEREMONIOUSLY failing to defend their T20 World Cup crown in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last year, West Indies T20 International skipper Kieron Pollard has called on his “new-look” regional unit to focus solely on what lies ahead in the new year.
The maroon kick off their T20I campaign with the first of a five-match series against England at Kensington Oval in Barbados from 4 pm on Saturday.
Pollard said the team has been working assiduously to improve all three dimensions – batting, bowling and fielding – of their gameplay and are intent on taking England head-on in their first T20I series for 2022.
After a tumultuous last season, the burly all-rounder wants a renewed start to this year’s campaign.
“We need to improve the way how we play in all facets. Batting has definitely been a problem for us but the good thing about it is that we have some new faces in the group again; guys who are looking to make a name for themselves on the international scene.
“We just need to be able to do the basics. Play the situation of the game, be able to analyse, assess and make the right decisions when that is needed, and whatever those decisions are, should be what the team requires at that point in time.
“For us, it’s like starting from scratch. Those guys (newcomers) got a run-out against Pakistan in the three T20s and I’m sure they want to build on their personal performances. By extension, it helps us get victories.
“We’re basically starting from ground zero and got to do what is needed at this point in time,” he said at Friday’s virtual pre-match press conference.
Against Pakistan in December, West Indies were swept in the three-match T20I series. Led by stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran, the likes of Barbadians Dominic Drakes and Shamarh Brooks earned their regional T20I debut.
For England’s tour of the Caribbean, Drakes made the cut, alongside Fabian Allen, Odean Smith, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr, Rovman Powell, Kyle Mayers and Brandon King.
Opening batsman Evin Lewis is unavailable due to a recent covid19 positive test while pace bowler Obed McCoy is recovering from shin injury.
Global T20I stars Dwayne Bravo, 38, and Chris Gayle, 42, are now out of the picture for West Indies as the former retired after last year’s World Cup and latter, highly unlikely to ever play for the regional team again.
Pollard is undeterred and believes his youthful outfit has what it takes to upset a powerful English unit.
“We have been able to assess the situation, the conditions and knowing what is required at this point in time. We have identified what our weaknesses are and it has been stated time and time again.
“We want to play good cricket and if playing good cricket means we have to do what the team requires at that point in time, and we have to come out of our comfort zone, then that is something we are ready and willing to do.
“Technically, some of the things that we need to do and try to envision are some of the things the opposition (England) is going to try against us. So we would be able to negate that when that time arises, especially in precious situations,” he added.
Pollard was asked by journalists on his current form with the bat since he has only been able to notch just one half-century in his last ten innings faced for the maroon.
He fired back, “As the leader of the team I’m working behind the scenes to get my batting in an order. I’m not worried about my form, I’m okay.
“I know what I need to do in order to lead this team from a batting perspective. I need to score runs and lead by example. I’m fine and I can take it. I’m never in doubt. If I was to fail, that’s part and parcel of things.”
Pollard closed, “The mood (in WI camp) is great. We have moved on. It’s about time we start to focus about what is needed at this point in time.”