WI ready to ‘fight fire with fire’
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
With the odds yet again firmly stacked against West Indies in the upcoming One-Day International (ODI) series, marquee batsman Shai Hope says the Caribbean side is bracing for a strong challenge from England but also plans to counter with firepower of their own.
West Indies are ranked ninth in the ICC one-day rankings and face a number one-ranked England side already pencilled in as firm favourites to win the World Cup at home later this year.
However, Hope said while the Windies were cognisant of the challenge, they were not intimidated and would be looking to spring a surprise similar to what occurred in the preceding three-Test series.
“We’re an international team. We’ve come here to play cricket, and we just view it as a challenge. We know they’re going to come at us hard, and we’ve got to do the same – fight fire with fire,” Hope said.
“It’s a lot to look forward to, very exciting times, especially leading up to the World Cup, so I’m sure the guys are ready and raring to go. We’re just coming off a Test series win, so it’s important for us to continue in that vein and try to get the series win as well.”
He added: “We can use this as a good gauge for us going into the World Cup. We’re still looking at some plans [in terms of] what is the best fit and [team] combination, but it’s a good challenge for us, and we’ve got some work to do.”
The two teams clash in the opening ODI at Kensington Oval, with the hosts seeking their first series win over their opponents in 12 years.
They will be motivated by their performance in the Test series, however, where they tore up the form books to crush the English in the opening two Tests and regain the Wisden Trophy for the first time in a decade.
“We will use it as a motivator,” said Hope, who has emerged as the side’s leading ODI batsman in recent times, with an average of 47.
“We knew what they (pundits) were saying about us, and we’ve got to do the same [as we did in the Test series] – make sure that we know we’re coming here to play cricket and put up a fight. And it’s not just to put up a fight either, but to win, so we’ve got to make sure we do that.”