Series defeat won’t hurt Windies long-term planning: Simmons

first_imgCUTTACK, India (CMC) – West Indies face India in today’s decisive third One-Day International knowing victory will see them end a near two-decade wait for a series victory on the subcontinent.The Caribbean side stunned the hosts by eight wickets in the opening ODI in Chennai before succumbing by 107 runs in the second match in Visakhapatnam last Wednesday.Should West Indies overcome the odds and beat India, the series will mark their first on Indian soil since Carl Hooper’s won a seven-match rubber back in 2002.Left-hander Shimron Hetmyer bats during a training session ahead of today’s decisive ODI.With the importance of the contest looming large, however, West Indies head coach Phil Simmons sought to downplay its significance, pointing out that the current long-term team-building would continue even if they lost.“The thing is we’re trying to build something and the game … does not influence the direction in which we’re going,” Simmons told a media conference.“I think all the guys know we want to play our best … and even though we play our best, we might not win. We might now beat India but we’re trying our best to build something and continue going in the direction we’re going.”Contrasting hundreds from Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope in the first ODI saw the Caribbean side overhaul a testing target of 288.Similarly, stroke-filled centuries by openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in the second game, powered India to a massive 387 – their second highest-ever total against West Indies.Faced with a record run chase, West Indies stumbled to 280 all out, undermined by left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s second career hat-trick.Simmons said it was important to maintain discipline in their bowling right throughout the innings as this had cost the Windies dearly in the last game.“In the last match, we thought that 320, 330 would have been a good score to chase on that ground but in the last four, five overs we let them get away and that’s where we lost the game.”Much will depend on Hope, Hetmyer and Pooran all of whom have already posted big scores, but the spotlight will fall on captain Kieron Pollard who has managed just 35 runs from three innings since his return to ODIs.Pollard, like his opposite number Virat Kohli, suffered the indignity of a one-ball ‘duck’ in the last match and will be hoping to redeem himself quickly.A win will hand West Indies their first ODI series win over India in 13 years but Simmons said regardless of the outcome, he had been impressed with the way his side had challenged the powerful hosts.“They’re definitely the best team in their home conditions and for us to be playing the way we are and giving them a run, it’s great for us to see,” he said.last_img

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