RECENTLY-APPOINTED West Indies One-Day International (ODI) captain Nicholas Pooran is confident ahead of his first official match as team leader, in the first game of a three-match series against hosts Netherlands on Tuesday.
West Indies play their first-ever ODI series on Dutch soil, at the VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen, from 5 am (TT time).
The new white-ball captain is raring to go and confirmed the maroon would be hunting for nothing less than a win in the opening match.
“Very confident (captaincy), confident in my ability as well," said Pooran. "I’m here to win and I’ll do what it takes to try to get some (Super League) points for us and get some victories.
“We’re looking to be successful as a group and a team and that’s our goal. My mindset is to try to get the guys heading in the same direction so that we can be victorious.
“(I will) try to make the best decisions for the team; very instinctive. It’s similar to my batting so hopefully that goes well,” he said during Monday’s virtual pre-match press conference.
The three matches form part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ODI Super League, where West Indies and Netherlands will have the opportunity to secure points to try and secure one of the top seven places, excluding hosts India, to gain automatic qualification for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
He said the chilly weather has been a challenge for some of the Caribbean players but the team are hungry to bounce back from three consecutive ODI series losses.
Their last series win came against Sri Lanka in March last year. Since then, Australia, Ireland and India have all emerged victors in ODI series’ against the Windies.
Batting has been an underlying issue but the new skipper believes the team has been putting in the work to churn out better results this time around.
“We believe in ourselves. The last series (versus India in February) to now, we had about two months (away from competition) and guys went back home. There was a camp in Antigua and guys worked on their batting.
“What they learnt in that camp they can go out and execute in this series. We can’t make runs every single game but as a team we can learn from our mistakes and hopefully the future is bright and we can start batting properly as a batting unit,” he added.
He believes this series is a good platform for them to rebound from past results.
“As a team, we need to bat 50 overs and we believe here is the right place to start. We’re looking forward to do that once we get that opportunity. Hopefully that’s the start and a stepping stone for us,” he said.
Pooran said fast bowler Alzarri Joseph joined the team on Monday after a successful campaign for Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League and is also “in contention for selection” to the final XI.
A number of players who recently competed in the West Indies Four-Day Championship are in the squad and hope to bring their experience, albeit from the longer format, to the forefront to aid a possible Windies series sweep.
Pooran said, “I think it will benefit us because a couple of the guys scored centuries in those games as well. With the conditions here, it (ball) might swing and seam around a bit so I’m looking forward to see those guys put their technique into play.
“With the confidence of the last four-day round they can use that to try execute their skills, spend some time in the wickets, put in some runs and try to bat 50 overs. Hopefully, he’s (Alzarri) is ready to play and we can have him on the bank and bring his IPL experience across for us.”
He affirmed Netherlands will be no easy task.
“Obviously we don’t want to be complacent. We just saw the Netherlands play New Zealand and they did well. They weren’t successful but as a team I think they did really well.
“I think they have some good players and good skills. We’re looking forward to the contest and hopefully we can do the right thing, just stay in the present and get those victories.
He added that his position in the batting order would depend on the state of the match.
“In the last series I batted at (number) five and was trying different things in the Ireland series as well.
“Ideally I would like to bat more balls but for now I’m positioned at number four or five. It depends on the situation of the game, if I’m going up or down (the batting order). We have to wait and see,” he closed.
WI team: Nicholas Pooran (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, Keacy Carty, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Shermon Lewis, Kyle Mayers, Anderson Phillip, Rovman Powell, Jayden Seales, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr.