West Indies assistant coach Toby Radford shows Kieron Pollard how to go on the front foot during an extended practice session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.Photo: STAR
While the West Indies did go on to win the third ODI in Mirpur on Wednesday to keep the series alive, there are a number of areas that the visiting team management will be worried about. The batting, for starters, is yet to click for the team.
Scores of 199 and 132 in the first two ODIs point to the need for a major overhaul in the visitors' batting order. Their pursuit of 228 in the last game also witnessed a collapse. Apart from Kieron Powell and Marlon Samuels, the rest of the batting order failed to negotiate the Bangladeshi spinners effectively.
It's been the constant failure of opener Chris Gayle that's been a major worry for the West Indians. Apart from a solitary wicket with the ball on Wednesday, Gayle's performance has been below-par. Scores of 35, 15 and 4 in the first three ODIs show that the aggressive opener hasn't quite enjoyed his stay.
The team management though believes that it's only a matter of time before the big man hits form. â€œChris Gayle has played all round the world. He is a fantastic player and knows his own strengths and weaknesses. I think at some point in the next few days Gayle will get a big score, I am sure he will,â€ said Toby Radford, assistant coach of the West Indies at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.
â€œThe players are gradually performing. Sunil Narine bowled exceptionally well. [Verasammy] Permaul came into the side as well and bowled very well. Marlon Samuels's innings was outstanding really. He pretty much batted right till the end and allowed the other guys to bat within [themselves],â€ he added. Kieron Pollard, another player who is yet to contribute for the visitors was seen at an extended training session in Mirpur yesterday.
With seven of the ten Bangladesh wickets in the third ODI going to the West Indian spinners the visitors, like in their previous game, will want to bowl first. â€œWith the dew the toss could be really important. The ball was skidding last night, the fielders were sliding around, for the bowlers it's not easy to keep wiping the ball all the time, takes away your concentration, so in some ways the toss is important,â€ said Radford.
The series so far has been a disappointment for a majority of the West Indian players. However, with the visitors in pursuit of a dramatic comeback, the game today sets up an ideal platform for the likes of Gayle and Pollard to fire.