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

West Indies draw inspiration from Christmas movie

ESPNcricinfo staff
  shares 27

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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY 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?

  • POSTED BY dowdenpatr 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.

  • POSTED BY 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.

  • POSTED BY on | December 28, 2013, 10:08 GMT

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

  • POSTED BY Selfconfident 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.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 22:33 GMT

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

  • POSTED BY 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.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    Don't talk too quickly Dwayne!

  • POSTED BY 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?

  • POSTED BY Roysingh1972 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!!!!

  • POSTED BY 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?

  • POSTED BY dowdenpatr 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.

  • POSTED BY 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.

  • POSTED BY on | December 28, 2013, 10:08 GMT

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

  • POSTED BY Selfconfident 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.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 22:33 GMT

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

  • POSTED BY 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.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    Don't talk too quickly Dwayne!

  • POSTED BY 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?

  • POSTED BY Roysingh1972 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!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    i agree with all mayfield had to say capt. bravo is talking out thats ok but you better tell your batsman to lift there game , and you bravo with all that experience with the bat ,whanare you going to score some runs there are no more excuses you have to perform more consistently 10 and 18 runs is not good enough,you may have something there well its at your feet now ,good luck .

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    Unity comes from the Board recognizing and interacting with the players' representatives from day one instead of waging an extended war that lasted more than a decade against WIPA. The problems facing the team are rooted in this war that the Board thought they had won when they sidelined all the senior players who were all members of WIPA, Bravo included, and put Sammy as captain. Sammy is not personally to blame because he was placed between a rock and a hard place, and has done his best, taking everything into consideration. However we are now seeing that the temporary results were misleading and now the chickens have come home to roost.

  • POSTED BY adkum on | December 27, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Congrats Bravo for speaking out. It proves that not all is well in the WI camp. Test Captain Sammy and Coach Gibson should take note of this important comment by ODI Captain Bravo. If WI is to get any better in tests or any format of the game Gibosn has to go. WICB and the selection panel also needs revamping. People like Lloyd, Roberts, Richards etc need to be in. If unity is a problem then this confirms that there are major problems that must be addressed. Unfortunately the WICB does not seem interested in building a good team. The insularity displayed in team selection must be cause for concern and would definitely present unity problems. I wish WI well and hope the glory days can come back but I am not optimistic with the present leadership of the WI and the Board.

  • POSTED BY VivGilchrist on | December 26, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    Fix the first-class system. Get rid of CCC team. Stick with traditional Jamaica, T & T, Leewards, Windwards, Barbados, and Guyana. If you have too many teams the talent spreads too thin. WI needs a tough hard competitive 4 day competition on GOOD pitches where every team plays each other home and away. The national boundaries must come down also for example if a Bajan fast bowler could play for Guyana, if he is an excess to the needs of Barbados but could walk into the Guyanan team. The best 66 players in the region need to be playing regularly and things will change. The occasional import could also help raise the standard also.

  • POSTED BY Riddymon on | December 26, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    @Naman Gupta - Sammy was replaced by Bravo I believe shortly after they won the T20 world cup which made no sense to me.

  • POSTED BY ISSACHAR on | December 26, 2013, 22:44 GMT

    What is Dwayne Bravo trying to insinuate here? Is it that Sammy is leading a test team which is disunited and he is correcting this problem in the limited over squad? Is this the same guy that needed a break from test cricket? He used to be promising when he first started, but not now for tests. Still seems to be holding on to his place in 50 over cricket. Like bowling out his overs and resting others giving away less runs.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    @number-09 - yes I was incorrect in mentioning India, as they have shown a much better fight in SA than England did in Ashes. But my point still holds. England are yet to get the no 6 and opening position sorted out after retirements of straruss and collingwood. Similarly, Australian batting is very inconsistent after the retirements of greats like pointing, hussey etc. Rogers isn't going to last as he is old so whose going to replace him. Watson is up and down. bailey is just new to the team. Smith while improving isn't quite there yet. Who is going to replace Haddin. So while other teams are struggling to find rookies as suitable replacements, WI have a team full of rookies. Only guys like samuels, gayle chanderpaul, Ramdin and best are guys u can call experienced. Rest have barely played.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    bravo should lead from the front first instead of talking all the time..what has his contribution been with the bat?

  • POSTED BY Mayfield on | December 26, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    @number-09. We dwell on the messenger because of his past actions. Is this the same guy who refused to sign a contract? Not mad at him for trying to take care of his and his family's financial situation, but please do not be hypocritical. Unity in any organization comes from those in the organization buying into the vision and mission. Discipline, professionalism and hard work are the ingredients to achieve the vision and mission. If you look at footage of the Lloyd and Richard's teams, they were very business like. Serious about their job and the mission at hand. The current players are all about flash and show (IPL) and no substance.

  • POSTED BY USIndianFan on | December 26, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Sammy has provided able leadership. Senior players like Gayle need to stick around and play Test innings in Tests. Not ODI innings in Tests. Cricket is a team sport...

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    Congratulations West Indies. A win is a win. Keep on winning!!!!

  • POSTED BY number-09 on | December 26, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    @Siltbreeze- Why is it we always dwell on the messenger and not the message.

  • POSTED BY siltbreeze on | December 26, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    It's a bit rich for the man who takes the IPL money ahead of playing for his country (last Test match - December 2010) to talk about unity and representing the nation! Until he commits to WI cricket these are hollow words.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    A win is a win but captain Bravo must know that 'one swallow does not a summer make'. I am not too convinced about his 'unity comments'. They lost the test series by wide margins primarily as a result of skill deficiencies in playing good left arm swing bowling.

  • POSTED BY number-09 on | December 26, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @Naman Gupta - india has 7 players at 25 and under (age), west-Indies 5 players @25 and under. So your argument does not hold. Lets first look at Indian players 1st class averages in all format, and the number of matches they have played, compared to the West-Indians and you will be able to deduce a number of reasons why WI has performance problems. Well the unity issue is another story.

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | December 26, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    the problem with WI is they don't play with 6 proper batsmen, 1 wicket-keeper & 4 proper bowlers( 3 genuine paceman + 1 spinner) in all formats...playing with 3-4 all rounders doesn't work always except in T20s...WI should learn from their very own 90's team where there were hardly any all-rounders but still they enjoyed reasonable success until the slide started in 1998-99 season...good luck from an Indian fan !

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    West Indies is a set of different (very small populated countries). So players are from different countries, as well as different cultural groups: Indians, Africans and also American Indians. So maintaining team unity isn't easy, considering the circumstances. Sammy initially did a good job, but unfairly replaced by bravo as captain for ODI (or did he quit, but can't remember). That hurt is from, but he has shown signs of coming back. Another thing that needs to be acknowledges is that most players are actually under the age of 25. Compare that to countries like Australia, England and SA, or even India where majority of their players are in late 20's or early 30's, with the odd one being in early 20's but understandably being one of worst in team. Point is give them time. They are only going to get better.

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  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    West Indies is a set of different (very small populated countries). So players are from different countries, as well as different cultural groups: Indians, Africans and also American Indians. So maintaining team unity isn't easy, considering the circumstances. Sammy initially did a good job, but unfairly replaced by bravo as captain for ODI (or did he quit, but can't remember). That hurt is from, but he has shown signs of coming back. Another thing that needs to be acknowledges is that most players are actually under the age of 25. Compare that to countries like Australia, England and SA, or even India where majority of their players are in late 20's or early 30's, with the odd one being in early 20's but understandably being one of worst in team. Point is give them time. They are only going to get better.

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | December 26, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    the problem with WI is they don't play with 6 proper batsmen, 1 wicket-keeper & 4 proper bowlers( 3 genuine paceman + 1 spinner) in all formats...playing with 3-4 all rounders doesn't work always except in T20s...WI should learn from their very own 90's team where there were hardly any all-rounders but still they enjoyed reasonable success until the slide started in 1998-99 season...good luck from an Indian fan !

  • POSTED BY number-09 on | December 26, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @Naman Gupta - india has 7 players at 25 and under (age), west-Indies 5 players @25 and under. So your argument does not hold. Lets first look at Indian players 1st class averages in all format, and the number of matches they have played, compared to the West-Indians and you will be able to deduce a number of reasons why WI has performance problems. Well the unity issue is another story.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    A win is a win but captain Bravo must know that 'one swallow does not a summer make'. I am not too convinced about his 'unity comments'. They lost the test series by wide margins primarily as a result of skill deficiencies in playing good left arm swing bowling.

  • POSTED BY siltbreeze on | December 26, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    It's a bit rich for the man who takes the IPL money ahead of playing for his country (last Test match - December 2010) to talk about unity and representing the nation! Until he commits to WI cricket these are hollow words.

  • POSTED BY number-09 on | December 26, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    @Siltbreeze- Why is it we always dwell on the messenger and not the message.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    Congratulations West Indies. A win is a win. Keep on winning!!!!

  • POSTED BY USIndianFan on | December 26, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Sammy has provided able leadership. Senior players like Gayle need to stick around and play Test innings in Tests. Not ODI innings in Tests. Cricket is a team sport...

  • POSTED BY Mayfield on | December 26, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    @number-09. We dwell on the messenger because of his past actions. Is this the same guy who refused to sign a contract? Not mad at him for trying to take care of his and his family's financial situation, but please do not be hypocritical. Unity in any organization comes from those in the organization buying into the vision and mission. Discipline, professionalism and hard work are the ingredients to achieve the vision and mission. If you look at footage of the Lloyd and Richard's teams, they were very business like. Serious about their job and the mission at hand. The current players are all about flash and show (IPL) and no substance.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    bravo should lead from the front first instead of talking all the time..what has his contribution been with the bat?