Three is a pattern: Caribbean fans set to learn more about Pollardís West Indies

Tue, Jan 7, '20

by KRISSANIA YOUNG

Ireland

“One’s an incident, two’s coincidence, and three is a pattern”—Jeff Davis’ Sheriff Stilinski.

When Kieron Pollard’s West Indies bow into action, to contest their third tour, in welcoming Ireland to the Caribbean—having the tours of Afghanistan and India for comparisons—patterns will indeed become evident. The six-match (three One-Day Internationals & three T20 Internationals) limited overs tour will mark Ireland’s first visit to the Caribbean since the 2013/14 season.

To contest the 50-over leg of the tour, Cricket West Indies (CWI) made one change to the squad that lost (2-1) to India 15 days ago: Jason Holder—‘rested’ for the first two games of the series. Roger Harper, CWI’s Lead Selector said: “The decision was taken to rest Jason due to the heavy workload he has had over the last year. With an important year ahead for West Indies cricket, we saw this as the best opportunity to give him a break to recharge his batteries and refresh his mind so he could be ready to perform at his best as our Test captain throughout 2020, as the number one ranked all-rounder in Test cricket and an important member of the team in the white ball formats.”

The 14-man squad reads: Kieron Pollard (capt), Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr.

The hosts will come into the series having won four of a possible six games under their new leader. Now, despite a three-wicket loss to the President’s XI over the weekend, the Irish themselves should be high on confidence, having won four of their last five games, sweeping Zimbabwe 3-0 last summer.

Following a fantastic tour of Afghanistan, where he was WINDIES’ X factor with 145 runs in 3 innings at an average of 72.5, while copping 6 wickets; Roston Chase’s underwhelming tour of India means the questions of his ability to keep up with the tempo required for ODI cricket have resurfaced. The possibility of a further three games to prove himself, while the more naturally suited limited overs all-rounder, Fabian Allen, is side-lined, could make this tour a defining one for the Bajan.

It is obvious that much will rest on the shoulders of the WINDIES Trinity of Hope, Hetmyer and Pooran, with bat in hand. Yet, in the absence of Jason Holder, there arises the question of who will share the new-ball with Sheldon Cottrell. At the expectation that Romario Shepherd will replace Holder in the playing XI, comes the speculation that Alzarri Joseph—the most-senior of the West Indies’ young quicks—will be the first-choice to partner Cottrell, with Keemo Paul being the second option.

Predicted XI:

E. Lewis, S. Hope (wk), S. Hetmyer, R. Chase, N. Pooran, K. Pollard (c), K. Paul, H. Walsh Jr., R. Shepherd, A. Joseph, S. Cottrell.

Pitch report:

With a first innings average of 302, since 2016, the teams batting first at Kensington Oval have come out victorious four times in the six completed games.  This same ground produced a 724-run thriller between WINDIES and England in 2019.

Series schedule:

1st ODI Tuesday January 7 Kensington Oval, Barbados 1:30 pm 12:30 pm Jamaica time.

2nd ODI Thursday January 9 Kensington Oval, Barbados 1:30 pm 12:30 pm Jamaica time.

3rd ODI Sunday January 12 National Cricket Stadium, Grenada 9:00 am 8:00 am Jamaica time.

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