West Indies got a taste of things to come after hurtling to their second successive defeat against Pakistan in Dubai, thereby losing the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series, with the final game to be played in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday (September 27). Carlos Brathwaite, West Indies’ incumbent skipper for the shortest format of the game, however, remained unfazed and expressed confidence that his team will pull up their socks for the upcoming One Day International (ODI) and Test series against Pakistan.
“I haven’t lost confidence in anyone as a team. We haven’t been as good as we wanted to be and as players. We have to go about and find ways to correct the mistakes,” the West Indies captain said to Gulf News.
Brathwaite also insisted that winning the final game will boost the morale of the team, with the ODI series and the Tests to follow. “We told before the start of the series that every game we want to go on to win. Psychologically going into the longer 50-over format, with a victory in the third T20 can do a lot of good. We plan to go out and do the things we know to do, and do it better than we did in the first two games. We are more than confident we will go over to win.”
The 28-year-old all-rounder pinned the blame on the top-order batsmen for the losses in the first two T20Is, and hoped that they can pull up their socks for the final game. “One glaring problem was our top order batting. We have not been making most of the first six overs and then it became harder and harder. In the very first game, we were five wickets down for 22 runs. Then in the second, chasing 160 runs, we could score only 20-odd runs after the first six overs which became lot more difficult, especially with such huge boundaries. So, our batting and the misuse of the first six overs were our downfall in the first two games.”
Andre Fletcher, who occupies the No.3 slot in the batting order, has particularly come under the scanner, having struggled to up the tempo. The Grenada-born batsman made a painstaking 37-ball 29 in the second T20I, after having made a six-ball two in the first. However, Brathwaite backed Fletcher to come good in the near future. “It’s not correct to single out Fletcher, As a batting unit, we did not perform as we wanted to do in the two games. We don’t want to single out Fletcher. He has done very well in the recent past and if you remember, he had scored a match winning 80 odd in the World Cup. One or two bad games do not make him a bad player,” he said.
While the batting has disappointed, the bowlers have held their own, particularly leg-spinner, Samuel Badree. The 35-year old opened the bowling in both games and finished with creditable figures, something that pleased his captain. “Simplicity [is his strong point], he keeps it simple, he knows his strengths,” Brathwaite said. “I think himself and Imad Wasim are quite similar, as in they are not big turners of the ball and they probably won’t keep you awake at night but when they get into the game and the way they bowl wicket to wicket – you miss I hit – that’s been successful for Badree, the No. 1 bowler in the world and you can see why,” he noted.
With the series lost, the final game gives an opportunity to try out the bench strength and Brathwaite hinted at making some changes for the game. “Maybe there will be changes letting one or two guys experience playing for the West Indies. We have few players in the squad who haven’t represented West Indies so far, so there maybe changes,” he said.
Brathwaite, who replaced Darren Sammy as the captain of the West Indies team for the T20 format last month, reckoned that he is looking at ways to improve as a leader. “I have learnt a lot. So, I am not really judging myself and thinking because I want to win the series and make the West Indies fans happy,” he said. “If we can help the fans to continue to enjoy T20 cricket then I’d think I have done a good job. Up until now, we haven’t so it’s up to me to motivate the guys for the next game to help put a smile on the fans’ faces.
“I don’t know if it’s more comfortable or more familiar but I’m still new into the job, but that’s not an excuse [for losing]. As we go on, I feel a lot more confidence with things. I don’t know for how long I’ll be in the job for but just want us to do a good job and even get better at it.”