Windies captain Pollard expresses confidence ahead of ODI series | Daily News
Lankan coach Arthur looks for sustainable success:

Windies captain Pollard expresses confidence ahead of ODI series

Rival captains Kieron Pollard (West Indies) and Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka) shake hands in front of the NDB Bank Cup which will be awarded to the winners of the three-match ODI series. Pic by Sudath Malaweera
Rival captains Kieron Pollard (West Indies) and Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka) shake hands in front of the NDB Bank Cup which will be awarded to the winners of the three-match ODI series. Pic by Sudath Malaweera

Having gone through a closely fought high scoring ODI series in India which they lost 1-2 and then following it up with 3-0 whitewash of Ireland at home, West Indies captain Kieron Pollard expressed confidence of his team’s success against Sri Lanka in the three-match ODI series commencing at the SSC grounds on Saturday.

“When we got to India we were looking to where we were as a team. A lot has happened from the World Cup till now. We want to play the brand of cricket, we want to compete and we want to be always into the game. I thought the guys showed that they want to compete at international level and compete with the best for it’s a matter of continuity, a matter of not being overconfident but always wanting to improve each and every time,” said Pollard at the West Indies’ inaugural media conference held at Shangri-La Hotel yesterday.

“In the series against Ireland we wanted to show that we were a step above those guys and that’s exactly what we did. Now coming up against Sri Lanka two teams that are evenly matched in terms of where we sit especially in the rankings, it will be very interesting to see what these guys come out and show. We came here early because we wanted to do well as a team. We want to continue to play a certain brand of cricket, we are looking forward to it and we are pretty confident. At the end of the day everyone starts at zero who holds that pressure and who hold the match till the end is going to win and come out on top,” he said.

Usually touring teams come to Sri Lanka early to get accustomed to the oppressive heat and humidity and West Indies who arrived ten days ahead of the start of the tour have adapted to the conditions quite well.

“We adapted pretty well, we came early to get used to the conditions. Mentally and physically we are prepared for that. The humidity is high but these things we are accustomed to in the Caribbean so we have a lot of coconut water and lots of fruits. We are hydrated and the guys are looking forward to the series,” said Pollard.

The absence of two of their top order batters Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmeyer from the side Pollard admitted “was a big disappointment” but added: “Lewis was the batsman of the last ODI series against Ireland he did well for us and Hetmeyer has been consistent scoring runs but these things happen. It is an opportunity for other guys to come out and show on the international arena. Sometimes you look at it as a negative but it’s a positive for some other people. We as a team are looking forward to playing on what we have started and hopefully we can continue going forward.”

Phil Simmons the West Indies coach said that in the last few months after the World Cup they have been trying to build their white ball teams. “We keep working at improving our cricket with every series and against India we got better it is the same with this series. That’s what we are looking at.

“In India I think overall we played well but it’s just that our bowling has to improve during the series. We have been working in our bowling to get more wickets in the middle overs and things like that. Things have improved so let’s see what happens in the series,” said Simmons, the former West Indies Test and ODI opening batsman.

Likewise Sri Lanka are also in the process of improving their cricket overall with their new coach Mickey Arthur determined to make an impact as he had done with past teams he has been charge of South Africa and Pakistan.

“We have some realistic goals we want to achieve in the next couple of years and this is the start for us. This is the first time that I am involved with an ODI side. I am really excited to see the players accept the challenge and see them flourish in the role they’ve been given and try and fit into the brand of cricket that we want to play,” said Arthur.

“We are pretty realistic as to where we are at the moment but we got some very good goals and we got some things we want to achieve over the next couple of years. We want to keep getting better and better. Everybody certainly has been given clear roles with missions and to see how the guys embrace those roles it’s going to be very interesting.

“Also we need to establish what’s going to be our best brand of cricket and how we go about that and, hopefully we could get some results which would give some confidence in the brand of cricket we want to play over the next couple of years because ultimately that gives you sustainable success. That’s what we are all in the game for. It is interesting to see how the series unfolds because the two teams are evenly matched,” Arthur said.

The three-match ODI series will be played for the National Development Bank (NDB) Cup.

“We have a come a long way and completed 40 years in banking. We are the fourth largest bank in the country and now that we are in the big league we need to get into this kind of sponsorships and support the game,” said NDB Bank Director/CEO Dimantha Seneviratne. “Cricket is a much loved sport in Sri Lanka. Win or lose it is how you play the game that matters. Even in banking people go through ups and downs like Sri Lanka cricket and it is when the customer is in difficulties we want to help them.”

SRI LANKA ODI SQUAD

Sri Lanka has finalized their 15-member squad for the three-match ODI series against West Indies.

The squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara.


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