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ODI series bowls off today in Antigua … Windies hoping for bright start against fifth-ranked England

first_imgST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – West Indies will attempt to turn the page on their recent ordinary form and make a bright start to their first series of the year, when they take on favourites England in the first One-Day International of a three-match tour here today.The Caribbean side enter the contest at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium with a pretty dismal record in recent months, with just a single win in their last seven outings and four in 14 ODIs last year.Not surprisingly, they lie ninth in the ICC one-day rankings, a factor that caused them to miss out for the first time on qualification for this year’s Champions Trophy.In contrast, England are ranked fifth, and arrive in the Caribbean with just four defeats in their last 16 outings. They will also be seeking to reinforce their recent dominance over West Indies which has seen them win every bilateral series over the last 10 years.West Indies captain Jason Holder told reporters here yesterday that while there was a gap between the two teams, his side would be focused on executing and making consistent steps forward, as they seek to rebuild.“They are ranked higher than we. We’ve obviously got some way to go in terms of catching up and going up in the rankings,” Holder pointed out.“We just want to tick off our process boxes in terms of what we set out to achieve as a group. Our main thing is to be a lot more consistent than we have been in the past and I think once we do that we could be moving in the right direction.”He continued: “We’re taking it game by game. I think it is important we deal with England first (rather than think too far ahead). It’s our first series of the year, they are coming off a tough series in India as well, so they will be looking to improve their performances from their last series and likewise we will be looking to do the same.”Holder said the series against England would mark a reset for West Indies, as the side attempted to put the recent disappointments behind them, especially in the wake of the Champions Trophy debacle.And with the 2019 World Cup looming in the distance, the 25-year-old all-rounder said his unit were aware of the need to string together strong performances but stressed the process began with a productive outing against the English.“We’re not in the Champions Trophy (but) it gives us more time to reflect, gives us more time to get things in order in moving forward and then we look obviously towards the World Cup,” he explained.“We need to qualify for the World Cup and it’s our goal to qualify for the World Cup but we have to take it stage by stage and our first engagement is England.”Still grappling with the abrupt firing of their coach Phil Simmons, West Indies were swept 3-0 by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last October.They also struggled the following month during the Tri-Nations campaign in Zimbabwe which also involved Sri Lanka, winning their first game convincingly but then bizarrely managing a tie and two narrow defeats in their remaining games, to be eliminated.Holder put the Tri-Nations struggles down to inexperience and said this could be only addressed by continuing to play together a unit.“We had some new faces coming on to the end of last year in our series in Zimbabwe. I thought we had a pretty decent series,” he noted.“I think one of the major factors which hurt us probably was the inexperience and it’s just a situation where the more cricket we play together, I think the better we become.”For all of the Windies’ one-day woes, just under a year ago they were celebrating their second capture of the Twenty20 World Cup in India.Ironically, it was England who suffered their wrath in the final and even though the achievement remained a poignant one, Holder said it was time to scale new heights especially in the other formats.“It’s gone. We’ve obviously celebrated that. It was a wonderful achievement that happened a while back now so it’s important for us to move on, not dwell on it,” stressed Holder.“Obviously not forget it but we need to move on and understand that we need to improve our positioning in the rankings, in ODI cricket first and obviously Test cricket.”What West Indies lack in experience, they will make up for in talent, with the likes of Evin Lewis, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Rovman Powell, Jason Mohammed, Alzarri Joseph – all with less than 10 ODIs – included in the 13-man squad.SQUADS:WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope (wkp.), Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell.ENGLAND – Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wkp.), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.last_img read more