Gibson calls for climb up ODI ladder
Ottis Gibson wants his West Indies side to use their Twenty20 success to help improve their one-day cricket. They go into the series in Australia ranked seventh in ODIs and Gibson is looking for them to move up the ladder.
West Indies open their tour against a Prime Minister's XI in Canberra on Tuesday with speculation surrounding Gibson's future. He will almost certainly be in charge for the five-match ODI series and the one-off T20 - West Indies first match against a major nation since winning the World T20 in October.
"We are the T20 world champions and we are proud of what we achieved in that tournament but that doesn't put any added pressure on the team," Gibson said. "Hopefully with that victory and what we achieved more people will come and watch us.
"It's something we have to move on from and think about moving up the ladder in one-day cricket and getting ourselves in the mix with the best teams in the world. We believe we're a top team but we now have to show it with the way we play."
West Indies welcome back Ramnaresh Sarwan into their squad, which Gibson described as having a "good mix" of young and experienced players. They prepared with the Caribbean T20, which Gibson saw as a positive with all his players getting game time and playing themselves into form.
"We're hoping we can hit the ground running," he said. "The Prime Minister's XI is our one opportunity for preparation and it gives us a good chance to get some practice. Hopefully we put on a good show but the main aim is to get our preparation right for the one-day series on Friday."
West Indies captain Darren Sammy echoed his coach's sentiment on getting their preparation right. "The guys have been playing a lot of cricket back home and hopefully we can get this series off to a great start here. As an individual and as a team we have just got to get the basics right and execute if you want to win."
West Indies lost their last ODI series 3-2 in Bangladesh, and the series against Australia comes less than 12 months after the sides drew 2-2 in the Caribbean last March.
"It will be competitive out here, that's for sure," Sammy said. "I see it as a continuation of what happened in the Caribbean. We want to play hard, competitive cricket. It's always a challenge to play Australia anywhere in the world, but even more so in their own backyard. We believe we can come here and if we can execute our plans and play to our strengths, we can be successful."
West Indies have a poor recent record to overcome. They have not won an ODI in Australia since January 1997 - 13 completed ODIs ago - and their last series victory came in 1992, when they won a tri-series also involving Pakistan.
"We have a lot of respect for Australia, you can never count Australia out," Sammy said. "They're professionals and know how to dig themselves out of a hole. We won't watch the results of the Sri Lanka series but we'll look at some areas to implement in our game. I expect it to be a hard-fought battle and we're looking to play it very hard."
As might be expected, Sammy is looking to Chris Gayle to have a defining impact for them. West Indies played at the same venue against the Prime Minister's XI two years ago and made 399 for 5 off 45 overs. Gayle made 146 off 89 balls.
"I remember Chris hitting the ball all over the park," Sammy said. "I'm expecting Chris to have a good tour as a whole. When he came back home he looked really good and I think he almost had the most runs in the Caribbean T20 tournament after just a couple of games. We all know what he's capable of, but the strength for us is the way the team has performed together. We are getting stronger as a unit."