West Indies v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Providence April 6, 2017

West Indies, Pakistan eye direct World Cup qualification


Match facts

April 7, 2017
Start time 09.30 local (13.30 GMT)

Can Shadab Khan spin his magic in the ODIs as well? © AFP

Big Picture

It is often alleged that the existential threat 50-over cricket faces arises largely due to the number of ODIs played without context or substantial meaning. Series such as this one, featuring three ODIs tucked between four T20s and three Tests, would generally have been the perfect example to advance that point. But the ICC's otherwise severely criticised move to reduce the World Cup to ten teams, only eight of which qualify directly, means Pakistan and West Indies - ranked eighth and ninth in ODIs respectively - will be playing for much more than the series trophy when they take on each other in Guyana. If West Indies win all three ODIs, they will leapfrog their visitors to eighth position less than six months before the cut-off date of September 30.

Pakistan will be buoyed by a 3-1 win in the T20I series, although it did little to allay concerns that Sarfraz Ahmed's men are still too inconsistent to compete with the very best. The series was bookended by clinical wins, but the two games in between witnessed a convincing win for West Indies and one game their coach Stuart Law said they threw away. With West Indies now significantly depleted by the departure of many of their high-profile names to the IPL - Kieron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite, Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine have all flown off to India - a mere series win, much less a whitewash, would be a welcome result.

Form guide

West Indies LLLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Pakistan LLLWL

In the spotlight

With Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree away, this represents an opportunity for Devendra Bishoo to establish himself in the West Indies' line-up. He will play all three ODIs in front of a home crowd in Guyana - the first time in his ODI career he is playing there. He is still just four games into a return from a five-year absence from the ODI set-up, and will be eager to improve upon disappointing returns against England; in three games, he took three wickets and conceded 136 runs in the 21 overs he bowled. But with the pitch in Providence expected to favour the slower bowlers, he will be hoping for better returns.

For Pakistan, could it really be anyone else? The biggest talking point in the T20Is was legspinner Shadab Khan's explosive introduction to the international stage. The 18-year-old was instrumental in all three of Pakistan's wins, and was named the Man of the Series, an award for which, in truth, he was the only contender. He now faces a sterner test: whether he can turn brilliant four-over spells into solid performances over ten overs in various phases of an ODI innings.

Team news

The West Indies squad is significantly different from the one that featured in the T20I series, and not necessarily the better for it, at least on paper. As previously mentioned, Brathwaite, Pollard, Badree and Narine are absent, while Kraigg Brathwaite has been dropped in favour of Chadwick Walton, a move coach Stuart Law put down to a desire for greater impetus at the top of the innings. Pacers Shannon Gabriel, Miguel Cummins and Alzarri Joseph all feature, a sign that West Indies may finally be moving on from veteran Jerome Taylor, who did not play any of the T20Is despite being in the squad.

West Indies (possible): 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Chadwick Walton (wk), 3 Kieran Powell, 4 Shai Hope, 5 Jason Mohammad, 6 Jonathan Carter, 7 Jason Holder (capt), 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Shannon Gabriel

Pakistan haven't made too many changes to the side that won the T20Is, although a few fresh faces have been drafted in. Asif Zakir, Fahim Ashraf and Mohammad Asghar are the three players in the 16-man squad yet to pull on an international shirt in any format. The most notable difference is the return of left-arm fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan, who were rested from the T20 series. In addition, it will also be the first ODI series for Sarfraz Ahmed as captain, after Azhar Ali was removed after the 4-1 defeat in Australia and omitted from the squad altogether.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Kamran Akmal, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Fakhar Zaman, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Shadab Khan, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Wahab Riaz

Pitch and conditions

In the short history of the Providence Stadium in Guyana (it was constructed ahead of the 2007 World Cup), it has developed a reputation as a venue where the ball keeps low and doesn't come on to the bat. As such, the execution of each side's spin-bowling plans may be decisive in the outcome of this match - and indeed the series.

Rain is expected in the early part of the day, but the sky should clear up by the evening.

Stats and trivia

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vnr on April 7, 2017, 17:53 GMT

    In a related article on Cricinfo yesterday, Sir Vivian Richards suggested (to the best of my understanding) that it was not fair if top players must CHOOSE between ODI and IPL. We can agree, since the climate in the Caribbean allows cricket to be played in many different months of the year. If WICB really cannot compete with the financial might of IPL, then at least be sure to schedule such ODI series in Feb-March or July-August (and also relax some eligibility criteria such as compulsory participation in regional ODI) to ensure the best players can take part! ANY team must try to field its best XII if fit; and for WI in ODI at present, that would be J.Charles(wk), C.Gayle, M.Samuels, L.Simmons, Darren Bravo, K.Pollard, S.Narine, J.Holder(c), D.Bishoo, M.Cummins, J.Taylor & S.Gabriel with one bowler being the 12th man. None of those batsmen is playing here, giving a chance to fresh talent. But teamwork counts b'cos this is ODI; if they play well, even today's team can win this series!

  • ahmed on April 7, 2017, 13:47 GMT

    Both teams are weak in terms of batting ,so its even contest for both.akml,shehzad,malik all unreliable as batsmen.

  • indian on April 7, 2017, 13:07 GMT

    enjoy ipl

  • Niraj on April 7, 2017, 12:42 GMT

    WI team is so weak and none of their big guys are there. Even Jason Holder is hardly convincing

  • pakhai0528453 on April 7, 2017, 12:31 GMT

    @Therealmvp There are many reasons, the straight forward being they are not on central contract. Second they haven't played ODI domestic tournament so not eligible to be selected in international odi

  • vikass7442020 on April 7, 2017, 12:27 GMT

    Pakistan will win quite comfortably against this West Indian team.It will be a shock defeat if Pakistan lose to this team.

  • graite0848289 on April 7, 2017, 12:24 GMT

    The fact that WI can't even put up their best players due to such a thing as the IPL says a lot about the whole cricket team. It's not a team. It's just a group of players playing for money. Don't bother with West Indies anymore, no point. Would rather see sides with actual patriotic sportsmen like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. get more chances against the bigger teams in Aus, Eng, Ind. No point playing WI. At least you'll get a fight out of the other teams.

  • Dar on April 7, 2017, 11:54 GMT

    Pakistan will miss Azhar Ali as a batsman. He may be called a poor captain but as a batsman he did beter that anybody else would do in this squad. Let us see how far this squad can go-but take my words, pak would need Azhar Ali as a batsman sooner rather than latter.

  • Davo on April 7, 2017, 11:52 GMT

    Good morning to all you cricket lovers from Beautiful GUYANA. As usual, rain is in the air here in Georgetown. We have a saying in Guyana, you want rain, bring cricket. Nevertheless it will most likely remain cloudy for most parts of the day. On a side note, Providence Stadium has been regarded as one of the best in terms drainage and it is probably the FASTEST drying ground in the world. Even after a heavy downpour, all it requires is for the rain to cease and within 30 minutes it would be Cricket lovely Cricket! Enjoy Beautiful Guyana!

  • Michael on April 7, 2017, 11:52 GMT

    @THELIGHT.....after your sojourns in the rain forests of South America you still have NOT seen the Light ...still coming with that ' rain falling in South America responsible for the drainage problems at the QPO " mentality. Someone should tell you with the BEST players in the lineup the WI gave their WORST display in the HISTORY of WI cricket at the venue of todays match and Holder was NOT captain BUT had figures of 10 4 13 4 as a YOUNGSTER. Big man instead of you getting all confused and making yourself look stupid by saying that oceanic tides and run offs from those same SA rivers were also responsible for the drainage problems at the QPO,you should check and see that he is doing better than Pollard and the captain of that LOWEST total team when they both started out.

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