Bravo looks to restore West Indies confidence

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Dwayne Bravo said the imminent series of five One-day Internationals against New Zealand gives West Indies a chance to press the reset button and seek to restore confidence in the team.

The Windies face the New Zealanders in the first ODI on Boxing Day, Thursday, at Eden Park here on the heels of a three-Test series which the visitors lost 0-2.

Bravo said he was encouraged by the will to win shown by the players during the two training sessions the ODI squad has had on Monday in Hamilton, the venue for the last Test, and on Tuesday here.

“We have been running around and there have been a lot of smiles on our faces and that’s good to see,” he said.

“We have a different type of energy now and we all know that we feel more comfortable in the shorter forms of the game. We want to start well in the series. New Zealand on home soil is always difficult to beat.”

He added: “We would love to win the series, but we are taking it one match at a time. We want to improve our attitude, our outlook, the way we go about preparation, the way we play on the field. We want our batsmen to get hundreds, get big 50s and bowlers take wickets.

“It was a disappointing Test series, but the guys have put it behind them. As captain, I want to encourage the guys to be themselves and go back to their flambuoyant ways and playing the game with a smile on our faces.”

On a hangover from the Test defeat, Bravo said: “There have been half-dozen guys that did not play in the Test and have come into the ODI squad, so it is a different vibe, a different energy. We had meetings after the Test series and we have gotten over it now, so we are looking forward to these five games.

“For me, it’s about leading a team without much experience, so I am very excited to take this challenge on my shoulders and trying to move the team forward. I am happy with the squad. It is young, but it is very talented and it is up to me to make sure that this talent is used in the right way.”

Around the same time the team was training on Tuesday, Marlon Samuels was about to start the long journey home to the Caribbean with an “exacerbation of a chronic right-wrist injury” that may require surgery.

This meant three key limited-overs players will be missing from the squad for the series with Chris Gayle working on recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained last month in India and Kieron Pollard on the mend from surgery to repair a knee injury he sustained while training at home.

“They are three of our better players,” said Bravo. “We can’t hide it. We are definitely going to miss them because they are three World-class players. We have a lot of talent in this team, but they cannot easily fill those shoes, but it’s a good opportunity for other players to stamp their authority.

“Chris, Marlon and Kieron will definitely be missed, but I will not allow it to be used as an excuse if we do not play well. If we play to our true potential we will do well. We need to build our intensity, even in training, and take it onto the field of play. Regardless of what the result might be, we need to give 100 per cent, represent our team and our people with some pride and some heart.”

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