Despite winning only two ODIs out of their last 11, Carlos Brathwaite felt that the Men in Maroon weren’t performing as badly as shown by the stats. The West Indies T20I captain opened up about the team’s performance ahead of the must-win game against India.
“I don’t think we are that far away,” Brathwaite said after West Indies’ training session on Tuesday.
“We just continue to miss key points in the game. If we look back at the World Cup, it is the same thing. If we look at the game the other day, we weren’t cruising, but we were in a good position, and then we lost three or four quick wickets.”
“We are just missing a few key moments that could have turned one or two loses into wins and make us look a little better, give us a little momentum, and start to try to win series more consistently.”
Chasing a target of 270 runs in 46 overs in the second ODI, West Indies were 179 for 4 when they lost another 4 wickets far too quickly. Their score was soon 182 for 8 before being skittled out for 210. This turned out to be a huge disappointment for Jason Holder and his boys especially after the 1st ODI was a washout.
Brathwaite said it wasn’t a lack of intent, but a failure to execute their skills that had led to the losses.
“I don’t think it is belief per se. I think if you ask the guys in the dressing room if they believe they can win – I think they do believe they can win. The execution of that belief is lacking in key moments, like I said. So, I don’t think it’s a lack of belief or a lack of passion and in most cases it’s not even a lack of skill, but just executing what we want to execute the key moments of the game, which was the case in majority of the World Cup and this series so far.”
He believed that practice was the key to being consistent. But the all-rounder also mentioned that there was very little they could do in the middle of an international series.
“It’s practice. It’s conversation. If I am being brutally honest, there is not much we can change on the international tour. That is the challenge for the [domestic] franchise to be able to do enough work, get enough information from the guys at the top. And start implementing stuff. On the tour, we try to get the mind right, we try to, as a group, have conversations and honest conversations – not just patting them on the back but having honest conversations, sometimes even being harsh and try to become better players eventually.”
As far as his own game was concerned, this is what he had to say –
“We are having a lot of honest conversations with the coaches and the staff and I think one thing that’s kept me back is my fitness. I am working very, very hard in the past 12 to 14 months on my fitness – I believe I can get a bit stronger as well.”
“I think batting-wise, I have to reprogramme my thinking in thinking about hitting and swiping and batting properly. I think there has been a conscious effort for me to try to help the team as a batsman and a bowler and try to give myself the best chance for the team and try to help West Indies win cricket games.”
Everyone knows what Carlos Brathwaite is capable of. His 82-ball 101 against New Zealand in the World Cup would have done his confidence a world of good.
“I had a lot of time to bat. I had a clear thought process. I was working very hard off the pitch, as I am now, with the bat, in trying to do the right things and the simple things as long as possible. I had enough time so I could play myself in getting so at the back end when I normally come in to bat to start my innings I already had [faced] 40-50 balls.”
“The challenge for me is that that situation won’t always present itself. Obviously, being at home, we have changed the combination a bit. There I played at seven [six], here at eight, nine or maybe seven – the thing I take away from that innings is the way I structured and built the innings which allowed me to kick off at the back end.”
Having trained hard to the core, Brathwaite said West Indies were all geared up for the third ODI, and were confident of making the series even-steven with India.
“We drew the last series against England at home as well. And then going into the last game it’s for us to get the batting in order – if we get good starts going into the back end that’ll give us a good chance.”
“I think the batting has much improved especially since the T20s and from the overall batting performance in the World Cup as well. But, we didn’t close it off. We batted well in the second game as well, it was about closing it off – hopefully that happens in the next game as well and for the lower half to close the game.”
India will face off against the West Indies in the 3rd and final ODI on August 14, Wednesday at Port of Spain.