KOCHI, India – West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo said his side has put the Test series defeat behind and have regained confidence ahead of the first One-day International against India on Thursday at the Nehru Stadium here.
Bravo said he had watched India’s previous ODI series against Australia, where total of 300-plus were scored regularly, but believes that West Indies have bowlers more suited to the conditions and that off-spinner Sunil Narine, the No.1 ranked bowler in ODIs, could be the trump card.
“Their previous series was a run-feast. . .but these are different conditions, different venues, and we have a different bowling attack,” he said.
“Our bowlers are similar to the Indian bowlers. We have Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine, Jason Holder. . .I think we expect this will be a high-scoring series and the team that bowls better will win the series, so it’s up to us as bowlers to try and get things right.”
He added: “We have some good fast bowlers in our line-up, but in India, the grounds are small, the outfields are fast, the pitches are batsman-friendly, so the team that bowls better will win.
“This will require more skills, not too much pace, as we saw with the Australians – most of their bowlers delivered at 140 kph and they were not successful. My advice to my team will be to be skillful and smart.”
On the differences between the different formats of the game, Bravo said: “I think One-day and Twenty20 cricket give you more freedom. Darren Sammy did not do well in the Tests, but he could be our match-winner in the ODIs, playing the role that Kieron Pollard has played for us. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels could also find their feet here.
“It’s been a while since we played a Test series, so coming to India was never going to be easy, even Australia came here and lost 4-0 in a Test series – this will be an opportunity for the players to express themselves, but they still have to be smart, there are 300 balls in every innings, and as long as they play smart, we will have a good series.”
On West Indies long-term prospects in the ODI format, Bravo said: “Our cricket has been up and down – we have not been consistent. The senior players have not played at times for one reason or another. . .But now is the perfect opportunity for us to try and turn things around.
“It is going to be steady progress as long as the team does not change regularly because with changed teams the roles of players become more challenging. It will be important for us to try and build one team, keep one group of players and give them a good opportunity to play together for as long as possible. . .We have the talent and we have the ability, it is just for us to get some wins under our belt, so that we can feel comfortable as a team.”
Bravo is a confident all-rounder familiar with conditions on the sub-continent. He has taken 173 ODI wickets – placing him among the leading wicket-takers in this format for West Indies. His career-best figures of 6-43 also rank among the Top-10 in West Indies history.
The 30-year-old said his side knew the challenge that India, the World No.1 and reigning World ODI champions, posed, but he expected the Windies to play competitively in the three-match series.
“The ODI format is one where we feel very comfortable as a team, but playing against India is not going to be easy,” he said.
“Lately, they have been playing some very good cricket. We respect them, we respect their players, but we know we are also capable of good performances. I think this series is going to be very exciting and will not be as one-sided as the Test series.”
He said: “Obviously, the first few days after the defeat in the Test series, the guys were a bit down and feeling a bit low. As captain, it is was very important for me to stress to them that this is a different format and this will give us a bit more freedom to express ourselves and show our skills.
“We had two good training sessions in Mumbai and we feel better about ourselves. We [had] another training session [on Wednesday] and Kochi is a new venue for most of us. The Test series loss is behind us now. We see ourselves more comfortable with this format and more confident too.”