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December 25, 2013
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies ODI captain, has asked his team to set aside the disappointing results of the Tests against New Zealand, ahead of the ODI series which starts on December 26 in Auckland.
West Indies lost the Test series 2-0 and their ODI squad, weakened by the absence of Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, suffered another setback when Marlon Samuels had to return home due to a wrist injury. Gayle was ruled out of the series after suffering a hamstring injury on the tour to India, while Pollard is still recovering from a knee injury. Bravo, however, felt that the lack of big names was an opportunity for the rest of the squad.
"The couple of training sessions we've had have been very good. It's a different type of energy," Bravo said. "We feel more comfortable in the shorter format and we want to start well. We know New Zealand at home is always a difficult challenge. They are a tough team to beat but I think we can do well and the confidence is showing after our sessions.
"We can't hide it. We have injuries. Three of our better players are out and we will miss them. They're world-class players and big shoes to fill. They're experienced but nonetheless this is a chance for other players to make a name for themselves and stamp their authority. Whichever team runs out on the pitch, we must give 100% and play with a high intensity."
Bravo stressed the ODI series was a chance for the team to show its resilience after West Indies lost their second successive away Test series by a 2-0 margin. He further emphasised that the team's success would depend on how far the new entrants to the squad could acclimatise to New Zealand's conditions.
"We will take this ODI series one game at a time and improve our attitude. It is a positive how well we played against India and barely lost that ODI series," Bravo said. "The key will be our batsmen getting fifties and converting them to big hundreds. Some of us were not in the Test team and will have to adjust to the pitches and that's part of our preparation."
Prior to the India tour, West Indies had won six Tests in a row, including two against New Zealand at home last year. Their run of form in ODIs this year has also been patchy, as the side has lost 13 of the 23 games they have played. They managed to beat India in ODIs at home and away, but haven't been consistent against the stronger teams. Bravo admitted that there would be changes to the squad following the Test losses, but urged his team to stay positive, saying limited-overs cricket was a strong point for the side.
"It's a young but talented team. We're inexperienced but once there's no Test hangover and we don't take New Zealand for granted," he said. "We'll play to the best of our ability and get the right results. We just need to be positive and look forward. Once we get the hang of the pitches, we have the tools for the job.
"We've gotten over the past. Many have said that it's a bit embarrassing to see the state of our cricket today but as players, we'll take full responsibility. Some changes may be forthcoming to the Test team and as much as I'd like to return to the Test fold, I can only focus on leading the guys into this battle and taking this series home. One-days and T20s have been our strong points and I think we'll show why very soon."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala