Windies aim to start on a high
Canberra, Australia – West Indies will get a feel of the conditions in Australia when they play their opening tour match against the Australia Prime Minister’s XI on Tuesday at the picturesque Munaka Oval.
First ball in the day/night encounter is at 2:20 pm (11:20 pm Monday Eastern Caribbean Time/10:20 pm Monday Jamaica Time).
Skipper Darren Sammy and his side will be expecting a good workout against a team led by former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
“As an individual and as a team we have just got to get the basics right and execute if you want to win. This is the only practice match we have before we start against Australia in Perth later this week, so this is a chance to hit the ground running. The guys have been playing a lot of cricket back home and hopefully we can get this series off to a great start here,” Sammy said.
The West Indies played at the same venue against the Prime Minister’s XI two years ago and made 399-5 off 45 overs. Chris Gayle led the charge with 146 off 89 balls.
“I remember Chris Gayle hitting the ball all over the park. We played well that day and entertained the crowd. It’s a good fixture whenever we tour here and it’s good to play the Prime Minister’s match to start our tour. I’m expecting Chris to have a good tour on a whole and I also expect the team to play well in these conditions.
“When he came back home he looked really good and I think he almost had the most runs in the Caribbean T20 tournament after just a couple of games. We all know what he’s capable of, but the strength for us is the way the team has performed together. We are getting stronger as a unit,” the Windies captain noted.
Looking ahead to the five ODIs and one-off T20, Sammy said the team is well motivated to do something special on foreign soil. He said last year’s action-packed series against the Aussies in the Caribbean and the team’s triumph at the ICC World T20 are proof the Windies can beat higher ranked opponents in any conditions.
“It will be competitive out here, that’s for sure. I see it as a continuation of what happened in the Caribbean – over there in the limited over format it was a draw 2-2. We’ve got five ODIs here so we want to play hard and competitive cricket. It’s always a challenge to play Australia anywhere in the world, but even more so in their own backyard. We believe we can come here and if we can execute our plans and play to our strengths, we can be successful,” a confident Sammy added.
“We have a lot of respect for Australia, you can never count Australia out. They’re professionals and know how to dig themselves out of a hole. We won’t watch the results of the Sri Lanka series, but we’ll look at some areas to implement in our game. I expect it to be a hard-fought battle and we’re looking to play it very hard.”