‘If we don’t qualify, we go a step lower’- Hooper on West Indies’ ‘distressing’ position
Former West Indies captain and current assistant coach Carl Hooper has called the team’s current position “distressing”.
West Indies are ranked tenth right now in ODI cricket, below Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and will have to compete with nine other teams in Zimbabwe to qualify for the ODI World Cup, which will begin in October in India.
Earlier last year, West Indies had failed to make it out of the qualifier to the T20 World Cup proper in Australia, losing to Scotland and Ireland.
“The position hasn’t changed,” Hooper said ahead of the ODI World Cup qualifier in Harare. “The point is can we go lower than this? Yes, we can go lower than this and if we don’t qualify, we go a step lower. Never thought that I’d live to see the day where West Indies are trying to qualify for major tournaments. I sat in Australia, and we struggled to get through it in the T20s and here we are in Zimbabwe.
“No disrespect to the other teams, but we’re playing against the likes of the USA, Nepal and Scotland. Even Afghanistan is ahead of us, and Bangladesh has gone ahead of us. So, this is distressing, and can we go lower? Yes, we can go lower. This game continues to remind you that until you start doing the right things, you can go lower. As I said before, I never thought I would live to see this day, but here I am in Zimbabwe, starting a game on Sunday. We’ve got to try and beat the USA.”
Daren Sammy, Shai Hope, Hooper and Co. have tuned up for the World Cup Qualifier with a 3-0 sweep of the UAE earlier this month. West Indies have been bolstered further by the return of their IPL stars who had rested during the UAE tour.
“We’re ready. I mean you get a feel, and you get a vibe for the energy in the team,” Hooper said. “I think Daren Sammy, as you know, is a fabulous, inspirational leader. Now he has been tasked, trying to get West Indies into the qualification, which will be massive for us. So, the energy so far in Dubai and with the other boys joining us here in Zimbabwe has been great. We’re looking forward to the game on Sunday and I’m sure we will do well.”
Hooper was also pleased with how some of West Indies’ players have adapted quickly to the Harare conditions, despite not getting enough game time in the IPL.
All-rounder Romario Shepherd, who got just one game at Lucknow Super Giants, hit the ground running in Harare, smacking 53 off 34 balls and then bowling three overs in West Indies’ 91-run victory over Scotland in the warm-ups.
Rovman Powell, who played just three matches for Delhi Capitals for the IPL, got cracking with 105 off 55 balls, including eight sixes and as many fours, in West Indies’ 114-run win over UAE.
“What we’ve tried to do is guys who are going to be an integral part of our campaign get a chance to spend some time in the middle,” Hooper said. “We’ve had quite a few players coming from the IPL. I believe five or six of the boys…while they’ve been involved in the IPL haven’t played a lot apart from maybe Pooran. So, the important thing was to get them some time in the middle.
“Having said that, the games that we’re going to play here in Zimbabwe are going to start pretty early in the morning. So, we noticed that in the two games we bowled, it certainly swung around. So, we’ve addressed that, and we’ve been having conversations, so there’s not much you can do technically but you can I suppose raise an awareness of conditions and how we might approach them to get the best out of the batting group.” (ESPNcricinfo)