West Indies’ white-ball captain Nicholas Pooran wants his team to learn from defeats against Pakistan and Bangladesh and put up a much better performance against India, irrespective of the conditions, in the three-match One-Day International series.
Amongst the top-10 ranked sides, the Men in Maroon have the worst winning percentage (39.4) and have lost nine of their last 13 ODI series in this time frame. In fact, they have won only three (all against the Netherlands) of their last 14 ODIs.
"As a group, we felt like in international cricket 9.30 (am) games, you can't control certain things. For us I felt the biggest learning is believe that we can fight - doesn't matter the conditions," said Pooran ahead of the first ODI against India at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain on Friday (July 22).
"We need to assess as players really quickly and understand that if it's difficult for us, it's difficult for the opposition as well. For us as a batting group, we need to hang in there as long as possible in tough conditions and tough times and believe that whatever we got is respectable and gives us a chance in the game.
"That's the most we can ask of ourselves. I think Guyana was challenging for us, but we still learnt a lot being there as a group, coming from Pakistan as well, then into the Bangladesh series...the results weren't in our favour, but as a new group this is our challenge."
West Indies have struggled big time in the 50-over format but Pooran said every member of the side is willing to learn from their mistakes and wants to get better. “As I always tell the guys, no story ever starts well and it has started so for us in ODI cricket.
“But I believe in the guys and believe in the talent that we have here and willingness of the guys to learn. Everyone wants to get better; everyone is asking questions. Everyone is asking how to get better and that's something I admire from the guys so far coming from the Bangladesh series.
“We're just looking forward to some things going our way because the guys have been putting in a lot of work and we're looking forward to this India series to correct some rights and wrongs. I don't have to do too much, to be honest. We just need to have really good conversations and believe in each other and continue to back our skills.”
One of the key reasons why West Indies haven’t been able to compete in ODIs is their batting They have played out the entire 50 overs only six times in those 39 games and unsurprisingly have the worst batting average (28.2) and balls/wicket (33.8) in this time frame. And, Pooran said his team hasn’t found the right template to operate in this format.
"Not only from my side but from a coaching side as well, our focus is to balance ODI cricket between T20 cricket and Test cricket. I think we haven't found the right template yet and everyone can see that. We're not batting 50 overs and that's the first box we want to tick.
"At the moment, when you ask me what brand of cricket we want to play in ODI cricket it's difficult to say yet. For example, if you want to play aggressive cricket, it's difficult to play aggressive cricket in tough conditions. So, for us, it's all about finding ways to bat 50 overs - it doesn't matter how we bat 50 overs - but I believe conditions do play a part in how we play our cricket.
"For us, it's ticking one box at a time and one step at a time. I believe that in T20 cricket we're starting to know what kind of cricket we want to play; in Test cricket same thing, but the more games we play as an ODI unit I think we're going to get better and a lot of the guys are going to have more games under their belt and they can have more experience and confidence as well.
“It will be nice if I can answer this question maybe after the New Zealand series, going by conditions and how guys react to certain situations as well."
Shimron Hetmyer has also joined the West Indies set-up but Pooran has made it clear that he won't be available for selection for the ODI series. The dynamic left-handed batter, who hasn't played international cricket since November 2021, is currently working on his fitness.
"Obviously, would love for him to be in this ODI series, but obviously he's been doing a lot of work on his fitness and he has been putting in a lot of work. He wants to play for West Indies; the trainers and the coaches are working with him, so expect him to play sooner or later. I think he has a fitness test to pass shortly and so he's preparing for that."
(Image credit: Cricket West Indies)