This was perhaps an extreme case of it, but West Indies captain Jason Holder has said his batsmen will be looking to start their innings cautiously through the ODI series.
“I think in the past we have let ourselves down in having a foundation,” Holder said on the eve of the second ODI in Trinidad. “It’s just a matter for us to take a few balls at first and get ourselves set and then we take it as the innings goes on.”
The second ODI on Sunday – if he features – will be Gayle’s 300th – he will be the first West Indian cricketer to reach the landmark.
“300 games is a lot of games,” Holder said. “Some of us in the dressing room can’t even imagine that. We just hope he can get us off to a really good start tomorrow.”
West Indies had a chance to look at the pitch at Queen’s Park Oval before rain forced the covers to come on, and Holder hoped for good batting conditions.
“It’s normally pretty humid.” he said. “The wicket is a decent one, hopefully the rain stays away and it doesn’t get too soggy. The pitch normally is a very good pitch here. The conditions should be really good tomorrow. We’ve got to see how the pitch plays, but ideally in one-day cricket, 300 runs is the benchmark. We’ll see how it all plays out tomorrow.”
While Gayle endured a struggle in Guyana, his opening partner Evin Lewis showed encouraging signs of a return to form, scoring an unbeaten 40 off 36 balls before showers forced the players off the field.
“Definitely happy to see Evin get some time in the middle,” Holder said. “He didn’t get the runs he was looking for in the T20 format but it’s good to see him get into form in Guyana and hopefully he can transfer that performance here as well.”
India’s batting line-up is among the best in the world, and Holder was confident West Indies had the bowling to challenge it.
“We got to put pressure [on the batsmen] and try to get as deep into their batting line-up [as possible]. The wickets nowadays are very good for batting. It tends to play a little bit more in the batsmen’s favour, [but] we’ve been doing a really good job, especially in the World Cup I thought our bowlers did a great job, and [we’ll look to] just continue from there and just try to be consistent.”