West Indies are leaving nothing to chance against Australia even though the visitors will be missing several of their leading stars for the five-match Twenty20 International series which bowls off in St Lucia on Friday.
The home side are seeking redemption after suffering a 3-2 series loss to South Africa in Grenada last weekend, and come up against a touring party that will be without the likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner, Glen Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Marcus Stonis and Steve Smith all of whom were late withdrawals.
But captain Kieron Pollard on Thursday was quick to dismiss the notion of a weakened Aussie side, warning the visitors still boasted a strong squad with quality players.
“Once you leave your nation or your country to come and play, you come to represent and you come with a group of professionals so I’m not going to say they’re vulnerable,” Pollard cautioned.
“I’m not going to say it’s a second-string team. What I’m going to say is we’re going to play against an Australian cricket team. So it doesn’t matter which team leaves their shores, which personnel [comes], it’s a national team nevertheless.
“They have some world-class cricketers in there who have played cricket around the world.
“You have some experienced guys who have done fantastically well in Test cricket and stuff like that, so we’re coming up against a bunch of passionate guys when they play for their country and hopefully we can come out and give our best.”
West Indies will be smarting from their recent disappointment against South Africa where they won the opener convincingly but then lost the next two matches, before capturing the fourth to level the series.
In the must-win encounter last Saturday, they slumped to a 25-run defeat in pursuit of a modest total, as their batsmen once again struggled.
In all three defeats, West Indies were guilty of conceding too many dot balls – a failure to rotate strike especially in the middle overs – and Pollard said now the matter had been discussed fully, it was time for his players to perform.
“We’ve had discussions about it, we’ve gone through different scenarios each and every time where we would’ve gotten stuck, and guys have a fair idea of what we expect from them,” he explained.
The series is the second of three five-match T20 affairs in the buildup to the T20 World Cup in October, with the Windies also scheduled to host Pakistan later this month.
And Pollard assured there would be no decrease in intensity from his side as they tried to hit form ahead of the global showpiece.
WEST INDIES – Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Sheldon Cottrell, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Akeal Hosein, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh jr, Fabian Allen
AUSTRALIA – Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.