West Indies’ tour of either Bangladesh or India on cards ahead of qualifiers
West Indies coach Courtney Walsh has said that the board is in talks with Bangladesh and India for a possible limited-overs series that would help them in the World Cup Qualifiers in Sri Lanka which is scheduled in July this year. The former cricketer, who took up the job after West Indies’ 5-0 drubbing in T20Is at the hands of England, feels that they do not have much time left ahead of the qualifying tournament and have to be ready with whatever they can do.
“We haven’t got a lot of time on our hands,” Walsh told reporters via Zoom. “The qualifiers are, right now, the main item on the agenda. We have to go to the qualifiers ready and we need to do whatever we can. We are hoping to go and play a tour. A possibility could be Bangladesh, a possibility could be India. Nothing is confirmed as yet but there’re talks and Bangladesh has indicated that they’re interested.”
Walsh said preferably a tour in the sub-continent would be ideal for them. “Once we get confirmation of that, then we can fix our camp and everything to suit because obviously going out to play competitive cricket, I view that as a priority. Before the qualifiers, I’m hoping that we can get that done. If you don’t get a tour then we’re going to have to have a camp,” he added.
West Indies have already begun preparations entering the bio-secure bubble in Antigua with 24-member probables for a three-week training camp with lots of new faces and the key focus has been on fitness. He is also aware of the fact West Indies have slipped to sixth in the rankings in both ODIs and T20Is and is determined to change things around.
“A lot of work is going to be required to get us back to where we can be,” he said. “In terms of ability and talent, we have it. But our work ethic has to step up, our fitness level has to step up, so we have to look all around. Our entire approach to the game has to be changed because everybody has gone a leap above us so we have got to now play catch up.
“This camp is setting the tone, not just for the World Cup qualifiers, but for the next two to three years of West Indies cricket. We will be very honest with each other, we’ll be open, we’ll look at the facts and the figures, the stats and data don’t lie. Then we’ll have a look at that and discuss it and decide how we’re going to tackle it.
“We have actually started one aspect of it already, and that is the fitness. Everybody knows that the team’s fitness levels are a little bit questionable. We’re putting measures in place to ensure that there’s a certain level of consistency as far as the fitness is concerned, so once you’re fit and ready to play then we can work on the skills after.”
Allrounder Deandra Dottin, who is still making inroads since her shoulder surgery 18 months back, was the sole star with the bat against England and bowled just eight overs in the series. Walsh said he is happy to see her progress till now.
“Deandra is getting there, she is back to close to regular fitness,” he said. “I would like to have her fully fit for the qualifiers, bowling back to normal. So that’s one of the things we’re looking at but in terms of her batting and fielding she’s a lot better.
“She’s ready and she’s eager to play, which is very, very good, so once we tailor her workload from this camp I want to give her a three-month plan to get ready to bowl. She’s in a good space, she’s working, she’s always a hard worker. I said to her if we have her bowling the way she can for the qualifiers that, will give us a big boost, so we’re working at that.”