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Kieron Pollard wants West Indies to bat entire 50 overs during the India series

The captain says getting over jet lag and a quick turnaround after England T20Is will also be a challenge

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
It was only less than a week ago that West Indies were involved in back-to-back T20Is against England in Barbados with the series delicately poised. A few hours after wrapping up a morale-boosting series win, the Kieron Pollard-led side left for India. After a three-day quarantine in Ahmedabad, and negative Covid tests, they were allowed to train in groups of four on Friday.
On Saturday, they held their first and only training session ahead of the series. And on Sunday, they will be thrown into the cauldron against a hurt Indian team looking to move on quickly from their 3-0 whitewash in South Africa. West Indies themselves are searching for answers, having lost the ODIs 2-1 at home to Ireland in January.
"For us, we have to crack on," Pollard said. "Today (Saturday) is the only full practice we had, and then we have to have our meetings and discussions, and stuff like that. Again, we know these are some of the things people don't want to hear and understand because we need to perform on the cricket field, but these are some of the challenges we have to face as international cricketers. The most we can do in a short space of time is to try and be in the right mental space, have discussions about it, sort of visualise and plan as to how we want to go about it.
"From a physical point of view, we can do it. We have to get over jet lag. Some of us are still living in the Caribbean time [zone]. It's night here in India but the guys have eyes wide open, but we have to get up early in the morning to play a day-night game. So, the challenges are there, but that's why it's international cricket, and we try and overcome it, and not use that as an excuse.
"We're doing what is necessary to try to take the field and perform at that optimum level. Hopefully, we can overcome these things and can make us better cricketers as well as individuals at the end of the day when we stick out and look out for one another."
The limited acclimatisation time has given West Indies little time to try and address the batting problem Pollard felt they had after the Ireland series. But the talk has revolved around three things: learn to adapt, take learnings from their series loss, and try to bat out 50 overs. Along the way, they want to draw inspiration from the fight they showed in their previous ODI series in India. They had taken a 1-0 lead before losing the next two games to concede the series. This time they want to better that.
"For this series against India, the learning we need to take forward is how we bat 50 overs," he said. "We haven't batted 50 overs in the last couple of series against Ireland and Australia, so that is something we need to look at. As a team, we need to follow the template and plans that are put out there so that we can go out there and be successful.
"For us, it's another opportunity to improve our skills, another opportunity to test where we are in international cricket against a formidable Indian team. The last time we were here, if my memory jogs me right, we did okay. We didn't win the series, but we pushed them. So now we're looking to push that one step further. Having said that, we need to put our heads together and try to improve in every area of our game we fell short against Ireland."
Pollard has been vocal about the team's need to improve fitness standards. He hasn't been shy of calling out issues in selection - like being categorical about how average returns in the Regional Super50, West Indies' domestic 50-over competition, can't become the basis for international call-ups. This appears to have ruffled a few feathers higher up in the West Indies cricket administration, but as captain, Pollard insists he is "in a good space" and isn't going to allow off-field chatter to come in the way of his vision.
"Obviously, I didn't tour Pakistan [for the limited-overs series in December], so I got some much-needed time off to refresh the mind and body," he said. "Coming back in the Ireland series, yes it was difficult. And the England series was another tough series, but these things happen. Once you have the intention of playing the sport, emotions, mental space, [and] physical capabilities - all these things get tested.
"I've played my entire career with a lot of things riding on it, and I have come through it with a smile on my face. That is how I'm going to finish my career as well. For me personally, I'm in a good space and always looking forward to a challenge."
As captain, one of the things he is doing is wearing a bigger cape around his broad shoulders to shield his players from external noise and give them the security to perform. For this, Pollard said it was imperative for him to "continue his process and judgment".
"For me, it is just a matter of backing my skill, ability, back my cricketing acumen in terms of leading," he said. "Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns. Sometimes you have to put guys in a situation where they can thrive with their confidence and stuff like that. For me, those are a couple of things coming out of it, just letting things happen and continuing my process and judgment."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo