West Indies hit by ‘Coach-dispute’
By Sean Devers
Since 1973, the West Indies have played 713 ODIs, winning 365, losing 316 with eight Ties and 24 no-results and the home team, reportedly plagued by an internal rift between the players and Coach Ottis Gibson, will be keen to improve that record against a Bangladesh side which has lost their last five ODIs as the 3-match ODI series begins today from 09:30hrs in Grenada.
The WICB has reportedly removed Gibson as Head Coach ahead of today’s ODI and usually reliable sources close to the Board confirmed Gibson was not in Grenada, adding that there seems to be a fall out with Gibson and some of the players who are reportedly uncomfortable with him.
The source added that assistant Coach David Williams, the former West Indies Test keeper is working with the team ahead of today’s game and revealed that a teleconference should take place soon with the WICB Directors to deal with the issue and could include an Attorney.
There are stories on the internet which claim that 46 year-old South African Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa Coach, who became the first foreign-born coach of Australia, has been given Gibson’s job after coaching the Jamaica Tallawahs in the recent CPL T20 tournament.
The source said they were not aware of this. Meanwhile, when asked if there was any truth in the internet reports, WICB President David Cameron confirmed there was an ‘issue’ with Gibson but added “Don’t believe what you read on the Internet”. The WICB’s head declined to comment further on the matter.
It is against this unstable background that the teams meet today at the National Stadium on the Spice Isle of Grenada.
West Indies and Bangladesh met for the first time in the 1999 World Cup when West Indies won by seven wickets and since then Bangladesh have only beaten the Carribean side seven times in a bilateral ODI series since their first win in Dominica by 52 runs in 2009.
This was the first International match staged at Windsor Park stadium and although Kemar Roach bagged five wickets, West Indies were never in contention. Mohammad Ashraful returned to the form that had eluded him in the Tests, Shakib Al Hasan retained his, and Mahmudullah hit the only two sixes in a challenging total.
In response West Indies were again undone by Bangladesh’s four spinners. Handed the new ball, slow left-armer Abdur Razzak, who had joined the tourists for the one-day format, finished with 4-39. Only Devon Smith, recalled after his omission from the Tests, and David Bernard batted with any confidence as Bangladesh won their first ODIs on West Indian soil.
But all of the wins have come in the last four years and today they return to their favorite cricketing destination with victory margin of seven wins and 15 defeats in 19 ODIs against the West Indies.
Five years ago the home team were beaten in all three ODIs and the two Tests as Bangladesh made a clean sweep of the matches against a hastily assembled West Indies 3rd string team due to a players’ strike. Bangladesh had earlier won the two-Test series with a 95-run win in St Vincent and a four-wicket win in Grenada.
This was after their inaugural tour of the Carribean in 2014 ended in 3-nil whitewash for the tourists in the ODI series.
After being beaten 2-1 at home in 2011, Bangladesh won their first ODI game and series at home when they won the last 5-match ODI series between the sides, 3-2 in 2012.
They return to the Carribean with their confidence high as the series promises keenly contested cricket with both teams having a lot to prove. The home side’s last assignment had them losing the three-match Test series against New Zealand and drawing the T20s. They haven’t won any series or tournament this year apart from a three-match T20 series against England and a one-off ODI against Ireland.
Under Dwayne Bravo, West Indies have now won three out of seven ODIs this year, and 11 out of 25 ODIs since replacing Darren Sammy as Captain. But apart from Bravo, who has been the team’s leading all-rounder this year and Lendl Simmons, none of the other batsmen have even crossed 200 runs this year, while left-arm spinner Nikita Miller is the only bowler with 10 wickets.
The West Indies players have had some preparation for limited overs cricket playing in the CPL which concluded last Saturday and Simmons was the tournament’s top-scorer, with Chris Gayle in third position. Ravi Rampul was the leading wicket-taker and Sunil Narine the only other bowler in the ODI squad among the top ten.
Bangladesh have only drawn one Test against Sri Lanka and won two T20s, against Nepal and Afghanistan. They have a losing streak to break in one-day cricket, their favourite format, and several players including Tamim Iqbal are out of form.
The absence of Shakib Al Hasan due to a six-month suspension is also a worry although in their last series they beat West Indies without Shakib due to injury.
West Indies (probable): Dwayne Bravo (capt), Chris Gayle, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Denish Ramdin (wk), Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach
Bangladesh (probable): Mushfiqur Rahim (Capt), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Mahmudullah, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain
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