'Inspired' Windies tackle ODI World champs Australia

West Indies ODI captain Shai Hope (L) and Australia's stand-in captain Steve Smith, with the series trophy ahead of their three-match ODI series.  - Windies Cricket
West Indies ODI captain Shai Hope (L) and Australia's stand-in captain Steve Smith, with the series trophy ahead of their three-match ODI series. - Windies Cricket

West Indies One-day International (ODI) captain Shai Hope wants his team to follow the heroics of the regional Test team at The Gabba, when they start their three-match ODI series against world champions Australia from 11.30 pm Thursday (TT time) in Melbourne.

Inspired by a remarkable spell of fast bowling from Guyana's Shamar Joseph, who grabbed figures of seven for 68 in the second Test, the Windies earned a 1-1 series draw against the top-ranked Australian team. The Test victory for captain Kraigg Brathwaite's charges gave West Indies their first Test win in Australia since 1997 and also handed the Aussies their first loss in a pink-ball Test in 12 matches.

As the WI look ahead to their clash with Australian who will be without Glenn Maxwell and the fearsome seam trio of Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and captain Pat Cummins, Hope said he and his team feel duty-bound to carry the winning momentum into the ODI series.

"It is very inspiring what happened in the last Test," Hope told the media.

"It is a different format but these are great signs for us to carry from the last Test into the ODI series."

The prolific Hope scored 192 runs at an average of 96 to cop the Player-of-the-Series award in the Windies' 2-1 ODI series win over England in December – their first ODI series win versus the English on Caribbean soil since 1998. At the end of the series, Hope asked his team to make the Caribbean a fortress as they build toward the 2027 World Cup.

For now, the silky Barbados right-hander wants the West Indies to tackle each game as it comes.

"Every game matters. It is not only about the series or the opponent, but we have to take every game like a final.

"It is nice to see the guys taking to the new system and the way we are trying to play our cricket. It is just one game at a time and then the results will take care of themselves."

West Indies do not have the full complement of players who featured in the England series, with the pair of Brandon King and Sherfane Rutherford playing T20 franchise cricket. Yannic Cariah and Shimron Hetmyer were also excluded from the squad. The absence of these players has paved the way for the uncapped pair of Teddy Bishop and Tevin Imlach, with middle-order batsmen Justin Greaves and Kavem Hodge also included in the 15-man squad. Greaves and Hodge were two of four players to debut in the Test series. Hope said the selectors struck the right balance of experience and youth in the ODI squad.

"I think it is great to deepen and widen our player pool for the 2027 Cricket World Cup. There is no better place to start your Test career than in Australia.

"Four years seems like a long time but it really is not. As (many) games these guys can play over that span, the better. It is going to give us a headache when that time comes to select a strong squad."

Hope said the Windies' failure to qualify for last year's World Cup is now on the back-burner.

"Being on the world stage and being one of the dominating teams in world cricket for a long period of time, and not being involved in one of the biggest tournaments in sport, certainly hurt us as a team.

"It is something we felt, but that is gone and we have to look ahead and prepare and get ourselves ready for the next World Cup."

West Indies ODI squad: Shai Hope (captain), Alzarri Joseph (vice-captain), Alick Athanaze, Teddy Bishop, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Matthew Forde, Justin Greaves, Kavem Hodge, Tevin Imlach, Gudakesh Motie, Kjorn Ottley, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (captain), Travis Head (vice-captain), Sean Abbott, Xavier Bartlett, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Matt Short, Will Sutherland, Adam Zampa


"‘Inspired’ Windies tackle ODI World champs Australia"

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