Denesh Ramdin has urged the West Indies batsmen and fielders to step up their game if they are to level the ODI series in New Zealand. West Indies go into the fifth and final match in Hamilton trailing 1-2 and needing a win to save face in a rain-affected series that has been rough on the visitors.
"Our fielding was not up to standard in the last game," Ramdin said. "We're usually a good fielding unit but we ended up giving away too many chances. The first 25 overs were good but in the second 25, we gave away chances and runs."
Ramdin also pointed out that the top five batsmen need to do better than their recent stagnant performances to set a proper foundation whether chasing or batting first. "It's no secret that our batting has failed us recently against India and New Zealand. Hopefully, our top five will come out and get some runs on the board or lead a good chase. I believe they can finish this (series) on a good note. We're looking to give a good showing. It's been a long time for us away from home and we're looking forward to going home but we want to end on a high note and improve. We haven't batted well at all except for a few bright spots here and there."
Ramdin referred to West Indies' depleted squad which had left them short of experience as a key factor in their showing against New Zealand. Ramdin said that the absence of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Kemar Roach and the subsequent blows to Darren Bravo, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels and now, Ravi Rampaul, took a severe toll on the unit. "The injuries haven't been good for us. Now we have new guys coming in for selection. We'll do better in the Twenty20s and if this game is shortened, we will be ready. We know New Zealand are clicking in all aspects of the game."
He added that more support needed to be provided to Jason Holder, who he dubbed as their best bowler in the series. Ramdin felt Tino Best and Sunil Narine would be effective as long as the fielders stuck to plans. He bemoaned how their fundamentals such as backing up and simple catching pegged them back in the last couple of ODIs.
West Indies had lost the third Test in Hamilton earlier on the tour and Ramdin said the pitch was similar to the Test one. "The grass is greener and there's something for the bowlers, with the two new balls. Once the batters get past that, they should get some runs. It's frustrating with the weather. It's much more cold than we're accustomed to but we want to take this match down to wire and get a full 50 in."
On the mood in the camp, Ramdin said, "It's difficult but Bravo (Dwayne) has been motivating us in bringing a relaxed atmosphere to the dressing room so that we play our natural Caribbean style of cricket. It's tough so far but we have the belief despite not getting much success in New Zealand. Our respectability is on the line. We have a lot of cricket back in the Caribbean waiting on us so right now, we need to rally around each other."
Ramdin also brushed aside notions that West Indies were too reliant on T20 success recently. When asked if ODIs and Test cricket still appealed, he responded, "We enjoy playing these long formats but just haven't been getting the results. It's not a dying breed of cricket as many say. These are good challenges and the ultimate for cricketers. West Indies have players who are suitable for all formats.
"On the state of our cricket, it is important we keep working hard at the senior, U-15 and U-19 levels. We have to put on a show versus England back home and then there's the 50-over World Cup next year. I can see New Zealand being a dark horse as the co-host but we, as a team, will take it one step at a time, win some matches and gain confidence, especially with the T20 title defence in Bangladesh this year."