Seeking to save face
PERTH – West Indies go into battle again tonight at the WACA against Australia seeking to save face after being mauled by their hosts in the opening salvo of their five-match One-Day International series on Friday.
But West Indies coach Ottis Gibson is stressing that there is no need to press the panic button even though they were totally out-played in registering their third lowest total in all One-Day Internationals.
Opting to bat first at the WACA Ground, the Windies were rolled over for 70 in seamer-friendly conditions with only three batsmen making it into double figures but none making it to 20.
The game ended in just over three hours with a nine-wicket defeat for the Caribbean side.
“It is not a situation where you will make wholesale changes, it’s only the first match in a five-match series so we’ve lost the first contest and there are four more to go and we’re obviously eagerly looking forward to the next four,” Gibson told a media conference today.
“I don’t expect there to be too many changes. The guys that were picked in the first game are the guys that we thought could do the job. We got knocked over [but] you have to back the guys you have in your squad.
“So we’ll back those guys, send them out tomorrow with perhaps better preparation, with perhaps a better mindset … I’m positive that you’ll see a different West Indies team.”
West Indies batsmen failed to come to grips with the prodigious movement and pace generated by the Australian seamers, and tumbled to their lowest ever score against the Aussies.
At one point, West Indies seemed en route to their lowest ever score at 39 for seven before captain Darren Sammy’s top score of 16 helped them to avoid complete embarrassment.
West Indies’ record low is 54 against South Africa nine years ago in Cape Town, followed by 61 against Bangladesh in Chittagong two years ago.
Gibson reminded that the resilience of the team over the last year had been such that the side had been able to bounce back from bad losses, and he expected no different in this scenario.
“That has been one of the hallmarks of this side over the last 12 months,” Gibson pointed out.
“We’ve had quite a few situations where we have had to bounce back but the one thing that has been there also for the last 12 months also is that we have had really good spirit in the team.
“It’s been forged through a lot of hard work and some strong discipline. The guys have been really getting together and believing in each other and getting stuck in.”
Gibson said the team had recognised where they had gone wrong in the opening game and had been hard at work in the nets making the corrections.
“We’re a very talented batting side and obviously they’re a talented bowling side and they got the better of us [on Friday] but we look forward … to the challenge, that’s what international cricket does, it tests you,” Gibson said.
“Coming away from home into these conditions and especially starting the series here at Perth is always going to be a test. We had a nice pitch to bat on in Canberra [in the warm-up game] and it was obviously a lot flatter than this one, the ball didn’t swing as much.
“[On Friday], we saw pace with swing and stuff like that and we didn’t respond. We know that, we accept it that we didn’t respond quickly enough, we weren’t proactive enough in adapting our techniques.”
Gibson also noted that he wouldn’t be bothered if Australian players pulled out of the one-day series to prepare for their four- Test tour of India.
With the series against the West Indies almost overlapping a February 12-13 tour match in Chennai, Cricket Australia will be forced to fly some of the one-day squad over to India early.
Skipper Michael Clarke, Xavier Doherty, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc and
Matthew Wade are among those who might not see out the ODI series.
But Gibson scoffed at suggestions the West Indies would view any withdrawals as disrespectful, claiming he understood the juggling act.”It doesn’t bother us one bit who they send,” Gibson said.
“The international calendar is so packed at the moment, that teams like Australia are well within their rights to believe they can rest players and protect players from different formats.
“We’re here to play a one-day series and, whichever Australian XI comes out, we try to win every game. If they send all the best players away and then they put their under- 19s team in, and we’re against the under-19s, then West Indies versus Australia is still West Indies versus Australia.
“We can’t focus on who might play. We focus on us, keeping our spirits high and making sure when we step out onto the park, we play with pride and passion and try to win.”
Tonight’s game starts at 11.30 p.m., with the final three games to be played on February 6 (Manuka Oval, Canberra), February 8 (SCG), and February 10 (MCG). (windiescricket/WG)