West Indies and Afghanistan are both going through transitions following poor displays at the World Cup in England a few months ago. Now they will see if those changes will translate into better fortunes on the field of play when they square off in the first ODI of a three-match series bowling off today at Lucknow.
For the Windies, they have appointed a new head coach in Phil Simmons as well as a new captain in Kieron Pollard, who will be playing his first ODI since 2016. A few new faces have also been added to the squad but, for all that tinkering, the visitors still lost their tour match against the hosts on Monday after being dismissed for 156 in 38.5 overs.
The new-look Windies set up includes top-order batsman Brandon King and leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr, who both impressed in the recent Hero Caribbean Premier League.
The visitors will also be banking on Evin Lewis to come good at the top, along with Nicholas Pooran who emerged as one of the few bright spots for the Windies in their dismal World Cup campaign.
”We, as a team, we have to plan how we are going to structure our fifty overs of batting and then our fifty overs of bowling,” Pollard said ahead of the game.
“Each and every one of us is a good player and (we owe it to ourselves) to show what we have to offer,” he added.
For the hosts, they also have a new captain in Rashid Khan, who has had a lot of success since taking over the reins, earning an historic Test win over Bangladesh as well as T20I wins over Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in a tri-series. The hosts also have a new coach in South African Lance Klusener,
Khan insisted that the hosts would be playing smart cricket and using the ground to their advantage.
“We have the Afghani power, and this boundary will also be small for us. But we will have to play smart cricket and not focus much on big shots. Because, on such big grounds, you have to play smart cricket,” said Khan.
The match bowls off at 4.30 am T&T time.
WEST INDIES (from): Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Brandon King, Kieron Pollard (capt), Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Sheldon Cottrell, Khary Pierre, Hayden Walsh Jr, Sunil Ambris, Alzarri Joseph.
AFGHANISTAN (from): Hazratullah Zazai, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan (capt), Naveen-ul-Haq, Karim Janat, Yamin Ahmadzai, Ibrahim Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.