|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Fantasy||Mobile|
January 31, 2013
The last time West Indies won a one-day series in Australia, Richie Richardson was captain, Desmond Haynes was the top-order rock and the pace battery featured Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Ian Bishop and Patrick Patterson. A tri-series that had also included Pakistan finished in front of 72,492 spectators at the MCG, where West Indies completed a 2-0 win in the best-of-three finals against Australia. The stands were heaving, the West Indian bowlers were fearsomely fast and ODI cricket was as strong as ever.
It is that kind of atmosphere Channel Nine have tried to recall with their promotions for this season's five-match series between Australia and West Indies. The great names flashed up on screen - Garner, Richards, Ambrose, Lara - as the broadcasters hoped to remind spectators that although school is back and February about to start, the international summer of cricket hasn't finished just yet.
But even the Australian team is already looking ahead. Before this series ends, Australia's squad will be split: some players will stick around to see out the limited-overs contests, others will fly to India to prepare for their rapidly approaching four-Test tour. Many balls must be juggled simultaneously. The West Indies captain Darren Sammy knows that it presents an opportunity for his men, who last year drew a one-day series 2-2 with Australia in the West Indies.
"If we look at last year when Australia was in the Caribbean, it was a very keenly-contested series and one we thought we should have won," Sammy told ESPNcricinfo on Thursday. "We see this as a continuation of that series and it's a great opportunity for us as a team to come here and be successful. Yes, we haven't won a one-day series here in 20 years but we've got to start somewhere and there's no better place to start.
"The past teams of West Indies were great, what they achieved during that 17-year period was tremendous. We respect our greats, we know our history and we would love to do that. But we are a young, developing team and we are now showing signs that we can not only compete but win against other higher-ranked opposition. Yes, West Indies cricket carries that legacy. But I know all our players would want to form our own legacy."
And as they proved last year by winning the World Twenty20, West Indies can claim plenty of players with enormous limited-overs potential. Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard are among the cleanest strikers in the world. Andre Russell, as he showed against the Prime Minister's XI this week, possesses immense power. Kemar Roach is quick enough to cause flashbacks to another West Indian era. Sunil Narine adds an element of mystery.
Not everything has gone to plan, as their one-day series loss in Bangladesh in November and December attests. But they are developing a certain amount of stability in their line-up, as well as the belief that they can beat anyone. Nothing that happens in this series can move West Indies from their current one-day international ranking of seventh, but they can certainly firm up their self-assurance with strong performances.
"In the last two or three years we've been putting in and pulling out players. The youngsters we've invested in like Powell, Bravo, Kemar Roach, they are maturing in the game," Sammy said. "It's showing some good signs for us. Hopefully, we as a team can continue performing consistently and everybody can play a part in the team's success.
"The year didn't finish off well for us in terms of the one-day series in Bangladesh but we did some good stuff last year. Winning the T20 World Cup was the highlight of the year for us. As a team, we gained a lot of confidence from that and we believe that we can go out and win games against higher-ranked opposition. The goal for the team is to start off well and set the tone for the year, which has a Champions Trophy in it as well."
West Indies will be without one of their best players, with Marlon Samuels still recovering from the severe facial injury he sustained during the Big Bash League when he was struck by a Lasith Malinga bouncer. But his replacement, Ramnaresh Sarwan, will ensure there is no net loss of experience, returning for his first international matches in 18 months. Sammy said Sarwan had slotted back into the squad well, despite his issues with the WICB.
"Sarsy is one of us; yes, he's been out but we always have good camaraderie amongst our players," Sammy said. "He has fitted in quite nicely. He had a good knock in the practice game and I know he has his goals for this tournament. He's a class player. We expect him to come out and do well for us. Marlon is a big loss. Since he has been back, he has been very good for us and we will miss him. But I think Sarsy is equally capable of playing that role and stabilising the No.3 position."
The series begins with two matches at the WACA on Friday and Sunday, followed by a game in Canberra next Wednesday and then matches in Sydney and Melbourne. The short tour ends with a one-off Twenty20 at the Gabba.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
The former Indian openers haven't been shining lately, but the IPL presents an opportunity for them to show their class
They were making good progress in building a world-class side, but not getting rid of Kevin Pietersen after the texting saga in 2012 cost them greatly
Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and defeat
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi
Having the top Associate team play the lowest-ranked Test side without the threat of relegation shows how votes mean more to the ICC than results
Brian Lara's 375 had a sense of inevitability to it, while the 400 came amid a backdrop of strikes and the threat of a whitewash
If they are to live up to their potential in next year's World Cup at home, they need to look within and search for inspiration pronto