Fresh Start As West Indies Look To Hit Back In ODI Series

West Indies captain, Chris Gayle, wants his team to forget its struggles in the recently concluded Test series and start strongly in the three-match ODI series against England, which begins at Headingley, Leeds, on Thursday.

“It’s a fresh start so obviously both teams will be looking to get that head-start by winning the first game and taking it from there,” Gayle said on the eve of the match. “We’re actually looking forward to tomorrow – it should be interesting.”

Gayle admitted that the wounds of the heavy defeats in the two Tests are still there. “I’m very disappointed in the manner in which we lost the Test series,” he said. “At the same time, we have to try and put that behind us and this is our main focus right now.”

“We had a job to do but we did not accomplish that job. We lost the series 2-0 and it was very disappointing. But we have to try and overcome these situations, try to make the necessary adjustments, and adapt to situations as quickly as possible and just try and get on with it.”

Gayle will welcome back dynamic all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to the side. The 25-year-old missed out on the Tests to work his way back to full fitness in the Indian Premier League (IPL). His return should bring a much-needed jolt of energy and enhance all three departments – especially the fielding which was sub-par in the Tests.

Fellow Trinidadians, all-rounder Kieron Pollard and fast bowler Ravi Rampaul, as well as Nevisian batsman Runako Morton, have also flown in as one-day specialists.

Pollard and Morton are fresh from helping Queen’s Park Cricket Club to the WIPA 20/20 title last Sunday in Trinidad.

Rampaul also prepared for these ODIs during that tournament, representing dethroned champs Powergen.

Gayle carries a big responsibility as big-hitting opener, and his dazzling 39-ball half century in the final innings of the Test series advertised his capabilities.

As usual, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul are key cogs in an inexperienced middle order.

“We are a good ODI team, no two ways about it but, at the same time, we have lost series,” Gayle said.

Over the past 12 months, the West Indies have lost 13 and won only three matches against fellow Test nations, and have drifted way behind the pack to eighth in the ICC Rankings.

The sun shone in Leeds on Wednesday, but conditions were expected to remain as chilly as they were for the Tests.

“When you come into conditions like this, it’s not suitable for our team,” Gayle said. “But at the same time, we have to make that adjustment and we have to grind it and bite it and go out there and try and get the job done regardless what the situation is.”

“It’s a new format of the game now – a one day match – and I’m sure we’ll put up a better fight in this ODI series,” he added.

‘We’re looking to gain some momentum leading up to the Twenty20 World Cup. Obviously, these three ODIs are very important.”

England received a setback on the eve of Thursday’s opener, when batting ace Kevin Pietersen was withdrawn from the entire series due to an achilles tendon problem. Pietersen’s absence should offer a chance of redemption for out-of-favour Ian Bell, or a debut for Irishman Eoin Morgan, now qualified for England.