Windies not shying away from mammoth challenge – Pollard
West Indies will seek to end a frustrating streak that has left them without a series win against India in 13 years, but captain Kieron Pollard said yesterday he was under no illusions about the size of the challenge facing his embattled side.
The Windies take on the powerful Indians in the opening one-day international of the three-match series at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium today, also chasing their first series success on Indian soil in nearly 20 years.
"It's very unfortunate but we can't do anything about the past," Pollard told a media conference here.
"The past is the past; our form is common knowledge - all these things we know as a team but as I have said, we can only deal with what is in front of us.
"Yes, we're coming up against India, a formidable team and we as a team are trying our very best to go and prepare well, do certain things well, tick the boxes and, hopefully, results take care of themselves.
"We can't control the results but what we can control is our preparation and our mindsets and that's what we are focusing on at this point in time, not what has gone in the past. We can't change that."
West Indies are coming off a 3-0 whitewash of Afghanistan last month in Lucknow, but India will present a completely different proposition.
Whereas the Afghans are ranked 10th in the ICC one-day rankings, India are the number two-ranked side behind reigning world champions England.
West Indies are ranked number nine and are widely expected to face a torrid time against the Virat Kohli-led Indian juggernaut, but Pollard said his side was looking forward to the challenge before them.
"The Indian team has been doing very well, there's no doubt about it. They are the number one team going around and again that's good for us," Pollard explained.
"Getting to come up against the number one team in the world is good for us, we look at it as a challenge. They have been doing well and congrats to them as well but it's not for us to take much into that. We have to deal with what's presented in front of us when we come there and those are the things we're looking to channel our energies on.
"We're looking for ways to be positive, looking for ways to continue to do the basics right when it comes to cricket, continuing to use that opportunity every time we step on to a cricket field and as individuals try to get better."
West Indies are a team in rebuild with several young players included for the Afghanistan and India series. Fast bowler Romario Shepherd, leg-spinner Hayden Walsh and batsman Brandon King debuted last month against Afghanistan, while left-arm spinner Khary Pierre is yet to play a single ODI.
Pollard, recalled to the side in an effort to help turn the page on a wretched World Cup in England earlier this year, said the younger players would be afforded every opportunity to perform.
"There are young talents ... and it's good that we have young guys coming through. We're excited for them, they're excited to be here, they're excited to represent West Indies," Pollard said.
"Scores haven't shown and wickets haven't shown their ability as yet but you can't judge people on a couple of games. I think that's a problem we have as individuals - we try to judge people too quickly. We need to give time in everything that we do because in order for guys to be the best at what they do, they need experience.
"We're going to back these guys and see how far we can go because we've seen the talent in them, we've seen the attitude and those are some of the things we look for going forward."
WEST INDIES - Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope, Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd and Hayden Walsh jr.
INDIA - Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Shivam Dube, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.