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January 3, 2014
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies captain, has remained optimistic about his team's chances to bounce back after a comprehensive loss to New Zealand in the third ODI but will have to do so without the services of the experienced allrounder Darren Sammy.
Sammy, the West Indies' Test and T20 captain, will be out for the remainder of the ODIs Bravo confirmed, following a hamstring injury which prevented his participation in the last ODI at Queenstown.
"It's a big loss. Darren is out for the entire series," Bravo said. "We haven't decided on what changes to make yet and we'll do so when we look at the pitch. We have a couple niggles in the camp but with Darren out, he brings so much to our team, especially in the depth. His experience and positivity will be missed. It's a tough time for us but our newer players will have to step up. Our players have a good work ethic so I'm confident in them."
He reiterated that despite their inexperience, there was a hunger he wanted to bring out in this Nelson fixture to silence critics.
After Corey Anderson pummelled West Indies' bowling attack with a record ODI 131* off 47 balls, Bravo admitted that they were coming up with new tactics for him, as well as Jesse Ryder, who smashed a whirlwind 104 from 51 balls.
"Our bowlers were disappointed. It was a great knock from Anderson but we've been analyzing footage and studying the size of the ground. It's going to be a different ball game. We will not be making the same mistakes twice. We'll be going back to basics like we did in the first ODI and be disciplined. Bowling to one side of the wicket is important and we didn't do that in the last match."
He added that he felt Anderson's cavalier knock was due to the fact that it was a shortened match as he would not be that swashbuckling in a 50-over fixture. Bravo stated that if the weather didn't interrupt, his bowlers would fare better.
The captain contended that while this chilly weather placed them out their comfort zone, he needed more from his charges. "We're looking forward to this game. It's only 1-1 and we've said to ourselves that with two games to go, it can go either way," he said. "We feel like we're still in with a good chance. The last game is gone and out our minds. We're fully focussed on the job ahead."
He also dispelled rumours that Chris Gayle or Kieron Pollard could return for the T20 fixtures later this month. "There's no Gayle to come. No need to rush him or Pollard. Their health is important and comes first. We have a T20 World Cup to defend and they're going to be big parts of this. No risk needed. We want them to return fit and stay on the park as long as possible. We'll be using another young squad for these New Zealand T20s.
"But right now, let's see if our bowlers have the guts and courage to bounce back. That second one-day was just one of those days. But it's going to be tough to repeat that again. I'm not saying it can't happen again but we'll be ready to make sure it doesn't."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here
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