Wishful thinking! - Windies harbour 5-0 thoughts
MANCHESTER, England (CMC):
Unpredictable West Indies face the improbable task of whitewashing favourites England in their five-match one-day International series starting here today, as they chase a quickly dissipating dream of direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup.
The Caribbean side's recent poor form has seen them plunge to number nine in the ICC ODI rankings, with only hosts England and the remaining top seven sides by the September 30 cut-off date later this month gaining automatic berths at the showpiece in England.
What makes a whitewash even more difficult for the Windies is the fact they have not beaten England in a one-day series in 10 years and are without a series success over a top-six side in the ICC rankings in five years.
They have won just three of their last 20 ODIs and even struggled against minnows Bangladesh in a three-match series in the Caribbean in June, managing only a 1-1 draw.
While stressing that a clean sweep of the hosts was not an impossibility, captain Jason Holder was also under no illusions about the massive challenge before his squad, pointing out the need to play at their best in order to get the results needed.
"It's not going to be an easy task, but it's not impossible. I think that win there in Durham from the T20 team has given the side a boost," the all-rounder told a media conference yesterday ahead of the day-night affair at Old Trafford.
"A few of the guys are overlapping into this one series, so hopefully these guys can ride on the back of that game and hopefully bring it (momentum) into this series.
"We've got to take it one game at a time. I think we need to win 5-0 to qualify, which wouldn't be easy, but, as I said before, wouldn't be impossible as well."