Sammy urges West Indies to show more ‘intent to score’


Daren Sammy, the West Indies head coach, is wary of the threat posed by the new ball in the early-morning conditions in Zimbabwe, but has called for more intent from his batters.

In West Indies’ opening game against USA in the World Cup Qualifiers at the Takashinga sports club in Harare, they had a sedate Powerplay, managing just 41 runs for the loss of both their openers Brandon King and Kyle Mayers.

“We don’t have say in how the toss goes, but whenever we bat, that new ball poses a challenge,” Sammy told CWI media.

“You’ve got to make sure that the opposition don’t get too much ahead when that new ball comes. I thought we could have had more intent because that’s one of the things we are talking about as a batting group – intent to score. And when I say intent to score, it’s not looking for boundaries but looking for scoring opportunities and when you do that, you could score off good balls and get rotation of strike going.

“Again, it’s a work in progress and we have to bowl well and keep creating opportunities. We dropped a couple of catches and that could affect us in the bigger scheme of things. But I’m quite happy with the way we’re going; the last six games that we have played we’ve taken steps in trying to play the brand of cricket we want to move forward with it. Again, it’s sticking to our guns, sticking to the plans that we have, and believing and committing to the execution.”

Despite King and Mayers scoring nothing or next to nothing, and despite Shamarh Brooks unavailable because of illness, West Indies regained lost ground through their middle-order.

Shai Hope, who has slid down to No.4 since taking charge of the ODI side, and Johnson Charles, who had replaced Brooks, led a quartet of half-centuries as West Indies posted 297, which proved 39 too many for USA. Though none of the batters could kick on and score a century, Sammy was pleased with the progress of the line-up.

Under Sammy and Hope, West Indies are looking to adopt a more aggressive approach and on Sunday, they had batting all the way down to No.11, with all-rounder Akeal Hosein slotting in there. It was this depth that perhaps prompted the likes of Hope and Nicholas Pooran to keep playing their shots.

“I listened to the captain after the post-match,” Sammy said. “He said ideally you may want one of them to score a big hundred, but he was happier that performances came from different batsmen in the group. You look at Brandon King, who has been playing well, didn’t get a score, Kyle Mayers didn’t get a score, so it’s good signs for us that even though we were under pressure we came back strongly and ideally you would want one of those to convert it into a hundred and we, as a team, celebrate the milestones after.

“But yeah the guys have prepared well and they are hitting lots of balls and they understand the direction the team wants to go in as a batting group. It is early doors, but the fact that mindset is getting towards what we want to do as a team I believe that you will see improvement in days to come.”

West Indies’ next game is against Nepal, who had strung together an improbable series of wins to make it to the World Cup qualifier. In their first match of the tournament, they brushed UAE aside by six wickets.

Nepal’s head coach is Monty Desai who was previously with West Indies as their batting coach under Phil Simmons.

Sammy made it clear that West Indies are not taking any opposition lightly in a cut-throat tournament, which allows just two teams to qualify for the World Cup later this year in India.

“Yeah, I guess [in] the first match against the USA, we got the ‘W’ that we wanted, which was the win,” Sammy said. “Great start to the tournament, but we have so much left in the tank. The guys came out and you could see they were not happy with the way they played, which is a good sign for us. We keep challenging ourselves and yeah in the end we have a few things we have to continue. But it’s a work in progress – trying to find the identity of our cricket moving forward.

“But, yeah, I was pleased with the victory. You come [up] against Nepal, a team who is on the rise and they’ve been playing some good cricket, so again we respect all our oppositions, but we focus on the things that we want to do as a team and focus on the brand of cricket we want to play. And it all boils down to our preparation, which we’ve been doing well and then on game day the execution. I have full confidence and belief in the boys – or men rather – that they will go out and do themselves and the region proud.” (ESPNcricinfo)


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