New Zealand v West Indies, 1st ODI, Auckland December 26, 2013

West Indies draw inspiration from Christmas movie

ESPNcricinfo staff

West Indies' ODI captain Dwayne Bravo feels the team has been "lacking in unity" and hence recent results have been poor. Following West Indies' first success on the ongoing tour of New Zealand, in the first ODI in Auckland, Bravo said he had emphasised the importance of unity in the lead-up to the match.

"Before we played the game, I really stressed on unity as the team was lacking in that lately and hence the reason why we have been playing so poorly. I made a concerted effort to bring everyone together and get everyone involved.

"We sat down yesterday morning, Christmas morning, and watched Invictus the movie with Morgan Freeman acting as Nelson Mandela. That inspired us. It showed the importance of sport. We are fortunate to represent our nation. We are the few players to do that. It hurts our fans when we don't win cricket games, and not only losing, but the way we lose at times.

"I keep stressing [on unity], and if you have noticed [after] every wicket I get the team together and one player says something positive. It doesn't come from me all the time. It can be a Darren Sammy or a Kieron Powell or a Lendl Simmons."

West Indies hardly competed in the Tests that preceded the ODIs, and the few times they held the advantage, they let it slip through poor cricket and eventually lost the series 0-2. Before arriving in New Zealand, they had struggled in the two-Test series in India, though they managed to win one of the three ODIs in a close, high-scoring game.

In Auckland it was a close, low-scoring game. West Indies' revamped bowling attack - Bravo, Ravi Rampaul and Jason Holder came into the ODI side - made life difficult for New Zealand on a pitch that offered the seamers help, and they scythed through the line-up to restrict them to 156. However, it was not easy going for the visiting batsmen either, and they were reduced to 96 for 6 before Darren Sammy slammed an unbeaten 43 off 27 balls to get them home with two wickets in hand.

Bravo had been confident of the team pulling through even after the top-order collapse, though he admitted it was not the most convincing of wins. "Yes, we were 100 for 6, but we still had a very small ground. We had one of the cleanest hitters in world cricket at the crease. As long as Sammy is there, we still have a good chance. The way he went out, the intent he took out there, to put the pressure back on the New Zealand attack.

"I think a win is very important at the moment. Confidence has been low as a team. It was good we got over the line. We scratched, but we got over the line."

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said even though his bowlers had West Indies in trouble, he didn't think they were at their best. "I don't think we bowled particularly well to be honest, I thought we could bowl better than that. But we kept picking up wickets and that's a fighting characteristic. I thought [the pitch] was a little bit two-paced, and with the new ball swinging as well, it certainly favoured the new-ball bowlers.

"[But] when you have got a low total to defend you need to be on song throughout. I thought Mitchell McClenaghan was outstanding for us today, and showed why he is such an attacking force. But we did give up too many extras, and I thought we bowled both sides of the wickets at times, and our lengths were not quite right either. Fighting performance, but not good enough..."

The batsmen too, McCullum said, could have perhaps done better despite the difficult conditions. "Some of the batting, when you come up against a two-paced surface, it can take a little while to adjust, and if we are honest we probably didn't give ourselves long enough to get in and create some partnerships. Not a great performance from us, but I guess if you play poorly and still manage to take them right to end that is still a good sign."

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  • Dummy4 on December 31, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    Why do we not all face the undeniable fact? The main problem of WI cricket is not the players, it is the coaching staff. It is not true that our players are untalented! Some of them have technical deficiencies, yes. But these can be corrected. And it is silly to say that the players should identify these weaknesses themselves and work on them. (OK that is what Lara did but he was exceptional). This is why we have a highly paid coach! It is the job of the coaching staff to work with the players, eliminating their weaknesses and building on their strengths. Gibson has failed miserably in this area. When our fast bowlers keep breaking down, it is the staff who mu do the necessary analysis and solve the problem. And ask Gibson why Shillingford and Samuels have actions that are still suspect! Why has he not solved them?

  • Patrick on December 29, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    "New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said even though his bowlers had West Indies in trouble, he didn't think they were at their best. "I don't think we bowled particularly well to be honest, I thought we could bowl better than that. But we kept picking up wickets and that's a fighting characteristic. I thought [the pitch] was a little bit two-paced, and with the new ball swinging as well, it certainly favoured the new-ball bowlers" McCullum my dislike of you is only growing. How could you have a go at the bowlers like this? The majority of the blame should go with you. Who charges when they are on 50 and the team needs them to knuckle down? The truth is the bowlers nearly won us the match after posting 156 against an average WI team.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    Im not intimately aware of the West Indian team issues but as a neutral,the performance of the once mighty unit has been the most depressing aspect of the last 15 years cricket-wise. Its been that long...the land of some of the greatest cricketers ever couldn't be totally bereft of talent suddenly surely? Cant they leave out bits and pieces players like Sammy,choose the best 6 batsmen with the best techniques and temperament to play test cricket,the best keeper and the 4 best bowlers? At least build a foundation,back the players,build consistency and guidelines into team performance,IPL availability,etc. Simplicity in thinking is needed..just go out,express yourself and let the results take care of themselves.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Bravo, plea se stop running towards IPL, instead pla y for your country!!

  • Mark on December 28, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    Adkum, your comment is one of an escapist who fails to see the truth. The real reasons why the WI is failing so dismally can be attributed to the following: 1- A paucity of Technical Woes: Our current crop of Batmen have no proper techniques: just listen to the expert commentators, and see for yourself. 2 - Poor Selection Criteria - Our current crop of players is so poor, that we should not be pursuing a policy of choosing horses for courses. We should pick our most competitive team for all forms of the game. 3- Failure to understand the Criteria for Success - Our players, selectors and administrators do not know the critical success factors. Whether it is tennis, football, basketball or chess, there are certain basics that must be adhere to. Obviously, the individual team members, coaching staff and selectors need to read some authors biographies of very successful persons. 4 - Only the Players can rectify their Errors - Only a fool keeps getting out the same way over and over.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    mr BRAVO have to start uniting bat to the ball cut out the talking get busy

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    i really dont understand Bravo sometimes, west indies needed him and he made himself unavailable, never for IPL...the only person who really seem to have to hunger for west indies cricket is Sammy. i will like to see him in the test team to help sammy win as a captain, the same as sammy is winning games in ODIs, making his captain record have some merits. despite what people may say sammy should be captain of all format.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    Don't talk too quickly Dwayne!

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2013, 19:40 GMT

    Bravo,do you really think that is the problem?If that is so,then you are as culpable as those you point fingers at.Every man that goes to bat wants to do well,he wants to convince the selectors that he is worthy of being selected again.The same can be said of the bowlers.WI main problem is the lack of talent.The first four batsmen have consistently failed,and this is purely because their techniques are not correct.This is more evident on difficult tracks.Bravo made a double century which is good and shows promise,but he is still struggling.Then you have players who are not selected even though they are better than some that are selected.Why was Ramphal not played in the test series?what is Deonarine doing in the team?

  • Roy on December 27, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    West Indies batting!! Devon Smith was one of the best batsman in the one day compitition in the Caribbean, but never shine in the international games along many others from the WI. Bringing the Irish for the Caribbean ODI, great idea! I would like to see another team in that compitition. Like a franchise team with world class players, also I think having a Caribbean club compitition, like the best club from every island, playing each other at evening and night games, the winner being the team playing also in the WI compitition with the rest of the islands, like ccc. West Indies cricket is at a all time low, except 20/20. I want to see windies rise up again!!!!

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