PREVIEW: 2nd Digicel Test (West Indies v Pakistan)
Basseterre, St Kitts, CMC – West Indies captain Darren Sammy was confident that his side could beat Pakistan in the second Digicel Test, starting on Friday at Warner Park, and wrap-up a series victory.
First ball is 10 am (9 am Jamaica Time)
The Windies previously won back-to-back Tests nine years ago, when they swept Bangladesh in a two-Test, away series. West Indies are certain that they can achieve further success, following a 40-run victory in the first Test last Sunday at the Guyana National Stadium, breaking a sequence of 17 matches without a win.
“The victory was a boost in confidence for the guys. The belief in the team is improving, and everybody believes that they can go out there and win against Pakistan. We celebrated our Test victory. Now we’re back at work, and focussing on the second Test,” said Sammy on the eve of the match.
There is an extra special reason that West Indies will be looking forward to the Test – sixth place in the World Test Rankings at the expense of the Pakistanis await them if they can either win or draw here.
“As a team, when we met in Barbados before the Sri Lanka tour in November last year, we had our plan for the next three years, where we wanted to be, and so far we’re working very hard in achieving that target,” Sammy added. “Moving up the rankings is definitely one of our team goals, so we all know what’s at stake. We have that at the back of our minds, which will be motivation for the guys. Winning a series at home against a higher-ranked team would be a massive boost.”
The Windies have made one change to the 13-man squad with 18-year-old right-hander Kraigg Brathwaite replacing left-hander Devon Smith.
“He has over 40-something hundreds (at all levels) in his short career, and it shows me the mental toughness he comes with. That’s what we are asking for, guys to be mentally strong and be able to go out there and bat for long periods, and he has those attributes in him,” Sammy said about Brathwaite.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said his team was ready, and motivated to do well to avoid losing the series.
“You never live in the past. We are just hoping this is an opportunity to come and play good cricket and try to win this Test match. Rankings are important but, to me, every game is important, and we’re just focussing on the game,” Misbah said.
Two Tests have been played at Warner Park, since it was redeveloped ahead of the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. Both have ended in high-scoring draws, and the conditions again seem to favour a similar result.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Carlton Baug, Darren Bravo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Brendan Nash, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons, Devon Smith
Pakistan: Misbah-ul Haq (captain), Abdur Rehman, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Hammad Azam, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Salman, Saeed Ajmal, Tanvir Ahmed, Taufiq Umar, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz
Umpires: Billy Bowden, Asoka De Silva
Television umpire: Tony Hill
ICC match referee: Allan Hurst
Fourth official: Peter Nero