Playing for pride and points
The stage is set for the third and final One-Day International between the West Indies and England at Kensington Oval tomorrow. Even though the visitors have already won the three- match series, the West Indies are trying to avoid a series whitewash and are also seeking to earn vital points to take them from the ninth position on the International Cricket Council’s ODI rankings. The West Indies must move up the ICC rankings to qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup in England. “Everyone is focused, I think every point is crucial going into the World Cup qualification. There is still a lot to play for,” West Indies captain Jason Holder told reporters in a media conference at Kensington Oval this morning. He stressed the importance of winning the match tomorrow to pick up vital points, and indicated that the imminent ODI series against Pakistan was extremely important. Holder said his team was aware of the importance of every series.
“We are playing England now. After England it’s Pakistan and then later in the year India. All of these teams are ranked higher than us. The magnitude of the situation for us is to win against these teams that are ranked higher than us. Once we do that, we will quality for the World Cup,” Holder said.
The captain said he expected the pitch to be quicker than those in Antigua.
“ I played a lot on the pitches at Kensington, including in the recently concluded Regional Super50 Cup, and the ball was carrying through nicely, unless there has been some remarkable change, I expect them to be quicker than those we played on in Antigua,” Holder said.
Holder said fast bowler Shannon Gabriel would not be playing due to a side strain injury he received in the second ODI and indicated the team management would wait until tomorrow to decide who would replace him. When questioned about the performance of the West Indies in the series so far, Holder said he was encouraged by their performance.
“I was encouraged from our last tour to Zimbabwe, I think we began to do a lot of good things there. It is just a matter of us putting it all together,” Holder said. “The first game showed that we can compete, but I think there were pivotal moments in the game that we needed to seize. Obviously the patience is running out with the public and a lot of people, but at the end of the day we are still human beings and young on the International circuit “ he explained.
Holder said his mantra in the dressing room was consistency and the only way the players were going to become consistent is if they were given the opportunity to play. He pointed out that so far none of the players in the series was dropped and that the only change in the series was one that had been forced – Gabriel.
The captain said he just needed to see improvement from the team that indicated they were learning. “Once we get that we will see a steady progression,” he added. The match will start tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. According to an official of the West Indies Cricket Board, the game is almost sold out.