‘Crisis Man’ Jason Mohammed wants to lay claim for future WI selection

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By Akeem Greene

At age 34, Jason Mohammed returns yet again to lead West Indies on a tour when the regulars opted not to participate; responding to the leadership call has earned the Trini the label of ‘Crisis Man’ in some quarters.

In 2017, he captained the ODI side in England for one match when Jason Holder returned home for his uncle’s funeral.

In April 2018, when senior players opted not to tour Pakistan due to security concerns, he was called up to lead the T20 side, and now he is back to lead the ODI line-up in Bangladesh amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The middle-order batsman, who played 28 ODIs and nine T20Is, last donned the maroon in an ODI against Bangladesh at Providence, in July 2018.

“It is the second time it has happened and I am quite happy to do it, to be honest; it is a great opportunity for me personally to lead the West Indies team. It is a great honour and a great achievement for myself; growing up you always wanted to play for the West Indies, but actually leading the Caribbean team is a great feeling,” Mohammed said in response to a News Room Sport question at Thursday’s Virtual press briefing.

“Sometimes things come in different ways and I just have to grab this opportunity and make the best use of it, and try and lead the team to the best that I can.”

Bangladesh have defeated West Indies in eight out of the ten previous meetings (Photo by Saeed KHAN/AFP)

His ODI numbers are not flattering as after 24 innings the average is 23.95, and strike rate 69.30.

Immense potential was shown since his day at the West Indies Under-19 level, and his swashbuckling knock against Pakistan in April 2017 at Providence was thought to be rewards finally being realised.

He smashed 91* off 58 balls in just his sixth ODI innings, which led West Indies to their highest successful chase in ODIs at that point in time, but after those heroics, he only surpassed fifty once in 18 innings.

The right-hander was among the top batsmen at the 2019 Regional Super50, churning out 357 runs in seven innings at an average of 89.25; he had a best of 101* along with three half-centuries and an impressive strike rate of 105.30.

Though the Caribbean side languish ninth on the ODI rankings, below Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, their usual squad comprises some of the world’s top limited-overs players, and for many of these fresh faces, they probably won’t be in the mix at this stage of their careers.

Interim West Indies ODI captain Jason Mohammed is eying a successful series, so as to cement a spot in the squad

The interim skipper indicated there is much to play for on the tour of Bangladesh since this a perfect opportunity to audition for a spot in the full-strength team.

“It is a good opportunity for me to have a good series and really put my hands for when the full-strength team is back so I really get my place back in that team.”

West Indies are expected to have four home series after, and these three matches in Bangladesh matches also start their qualification process to the 2023 World Cup in India.

“With a World Cup coming up, it is an opportunity for all of us here to put our hands up to firstly get into the team when the full squad is back, and have that chance of going to a cricket World Cup and that will inspire the guys a lot.”

Need for consistency

Since July 2018, West Indies have played Bangladesh in 10 One-Day Internationals, and have won only two, losing the other eight. To change such fortunes, the skipper said they have to be consistent across 100 overs.

“Yes, the record shows they have gotten the best of us the last couple of times, but we are a young team and once we play consistent cricket over the 100 overs, once we cover the basics, I think we can do well on this tour and we will win games; it is just to be consistent and executing our skills well.”

On Thursday, West Indies had their first training session, after three days in isolation.

The first ODI is January 20 and Mohammed said it will be difficult to gauge who makes the final XI since there are so many uncapped players, but felt they are up for the challenge.

The second and third ODI will be contested on January 22 and 25.

West Indies ODI Squad: Jason Mohammed (Captain), Sunil Ambris (Vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva, Keon Harding, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Andre McCarthy, Kjorn Ottley, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Hayden Walsh Jr.

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