“We want guys very, very hungry. There are other guys knocking on the door so we can’t relax and take anything for granted.”
So said West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard following his side’s 3-0 sweep over Ireland in their One-day International series on Sunday.
The Caribbean side scored a five-wicket win over the visitors in the final match at the Grenada National Stadium, a victory that was achieved without Shimron Hetmyer, who was dropped. Hetmyer is considered one of the rising stars of Windies cricket but had made scores of six and eight in the first two ODIs at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
And asked about his exclusion in the post-match interview Pollard said: “We spoke about working hard, we spoke about discipline and what is required for the team.
“He’s an important player for the team, and it is a discussion that we had. We need him to settle down and we need him to bat the way that we know he can bat. In India he did it very, very well for us. It goes to show the dynamics we have in the team, Sunil (Ambris) coming in and getting the opportunity as well.”
Not clinical enough
Pollard had complained about his side not being clinical enough despite winning the first two matches of the series. But on Sunday the skipper was, “very, very pleased,” with the performance in the last match.
“It’s something that we spoke about, wanting to come out and actually finish the series, wanting to play that almost perfect game,” he said. “The way the guys went out and did it, credit must go to the bowlers. I thought the lines and the lengths that they stuck to for a very long time today, it shows the consistency and the discipline we’ve been asking for over the last couple of months. And then coming out with the bat and finishing it off, Evin Lewis getting that hundred, something that eluded him in the first ODI and Nicholas (Pooran) finishing off.”
‘Well done to the guys’
Pollard added: “Nice to see Brandon (King) stroking the ball and being himself again. All in all very happy at the end of this game and winning 3-0. At the start of the day we said we would go above Sri Lanka or level with Sri Lanka on points (In the ICC ODI rankings), so well done to the guys.”
Opener Lewis was a key contributor to the West Indies’ success in the series with scores of 99 not out in the first match and 102 in the third on Sunday, knocks which earned him the Man-of-the-Series award.
“(From) that first ODI he has been working hard,” Pollard noted of Lewis. “The century eluded him in Barbados and the way that he went about it and got it today, I would have loved to see him finish 105 not out, but be that as it may, at the end of the day the team got over the line and just very, very happy in the way we wanted to go about things, ticking all those boxes.”
Technical and tactical changes
Lewis for his part said he has been trying to make a few technical and tactical changes to his game.
“I’m trying to open up a bit more, trying to play the ball straight down the ground. It’s working so far, so I just want to keep doing it and keep backing myself... Whenever I do score 50, I might get ultra aggressive...I’ve been working in the nets, giving myself that chance. When you do get the bad ball you put it away but the most important thing is to keep rotating the strike. You put the bowler under more pressure when you rotate the strike...It’s been paying off for us, just working on it day by day.”
Lewis will be aiming to take his good form into the first T20 International against the Irish tomorrow at the same venue.