WI not taking hosts for granted
Legspinner Samuel Badree has described Pakistan as a “very, very dangerous team” which can “demolish any opposition”.
West Indies face them in three T20Is from Friday in the UAE and Badree insisted his side was”wary of the challenge” posed by Sarfraz Ahmed and his men despite the gap in rankings. West Indies, having won the World T20, are at No. 3 and Pakistan are No. 7.
“On their day, they can demolish any opposition, and we are wary of that challenge,” Badree said. “We respect every opposition that we come up against, and we are going to do the same against Pakistan. We are going to prepare well, knowing that Pakistan are a very, very dangerous team.”
The responsibility of living up to that reputation has fallen on a few rookies, and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur gave them a glowing recommendation. “The players we have brought in – Imad Wasim, Babar Azam, Sohail Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Nawaz – they take the game on. They don’t fear failure, which is fantastic. They are the guys we want to build this one-day cricket brand around.”
West Indies, however, would have to find a way to cope without two of their best T20I players. Chris Gayle is injured and Andre Russell withdrew from the tour for personal reasons.
“It’s a different team from the team that won the World T20,” Badree said. “We have a lot of new guys, a few players who are making their debuts on this tour. A number of our guys have been here before – the likes of [Sunil] Narine, [Dwayne] Bravo, [Kieron] Pollard. So we are looking forward to some very good games of cricket and, of course, we’d like to win the series and remain as one of the best T20 teams in the world.”
One of the newer faces is opening batsman Evin Lewis, who made his maiden first-class, List A and T20I centuries in 2016 and has been named player of the year by the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board. That maiden T20I ton came against India in Florida in which Lewis and Johnson Charles shared a 126-run opening stand to lay the platform for a match-winning total of 245.
“I said [to myself] that this could be my opportunity to put myself on the world stage and I went out there and played positively and it paid off for me so I was happy about that,” Lewis said of the knock. “Johno [Johnson Charles] is a pretty attacking batsman like myself so there is less pressure on me. When he scores, it makes it easier for me to score also.”
A factor that could make this series, which also includes three ODIs and three Tests, compelling could be the mercurial nature of both sides.
“Pakistan are very similar to us in terms of their consistency – or lack, thereof,” Badree said. “One day they will give a brilliant performance, just like us, then the next, they leave a lot to be desired.”
West Indies begin the tour with a warm-up match against Emirates Cricket Board XI on September 20. There is a day-night Test in the schedule as well.