March 8, 2007
West Indies go into action next Tuesday

The West Indies go into their opening Group D match next Tuesday against Pakistan in Jamaica with a 5-2 record in their favour in cricket world cup fixtures, but four places below their opponents in the latest LG rankings for One Day Internationals.

The home team is eighth in the ratings and Pakistan fourth. At the world cup level, the West Indies is second behind Australia with a 65.95 percent win ratio, while Pakistan is sixth with 56.86 percent.{{more}}

The current form of the Caribbean side tilts the contest in their corner, despite losing 1-3 in the ODI series late last year on the sub continent. The West Indies in the last twelve months have reached the finals of the DLF Cup and the ICC Champions trophy competitions, only to be second rated, losing on both occasions to the world champion Australia.

West Indies, the winner of back-to-back world cups in 1975 and 1979, have a reasonably good record at the Sabina Park, the venue for Tuesday’s match.

A thrilling one run win over India last year reconfirmed a happy hunting ground for the host, but not for the visitors.

Pakistan have lost their last two ODI’s against the West Indies played at Sabina. But these statistics may be no indicators and could become meaningless for two teams, which on a given day are world-beaters, and transform in a twinkling of an eye to ordinary bunches of club cricketers.

The West Indies during 2006 had several scores in excess of 250, but reversed with a handful of scores under 140.

The West Indies, unlike the other fifteen teams in this year’s world cup are free from any major injury worries except that of Vice Captain Ramnaresh Sarwan.

But the Pakistanis have come out to the region without the inspirational all rounder Abdul Razzaq because of injury as well as fast bowler Shaoib Atkhar.

The West Indies though will be wary of the prolific Mohammad Yousuf formerly Yousuf Youhana. He was their nemesis in the sojourn to Pakistan in both the test and One Day Internationals.

Pakistan’s captain Inzamman Ul Haq, second in the aggregate of all time leading batsmen in ODI’s will add stability to Pakistan’s middle order along with Younis Khan. The others in the supporting cast are Azhar Mahmood, Danish Kaneria, Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Sami, Runa Naved Ul Hasan, Rao Ifitkhar Ajun, Shahid Afridi, Shaohib Malik and Yasir Arafat.

The West Indies seeking to become the first host to lift the world cup will be banking on their captain and multiple world batting record holder, Brian Lara.

The left handed Lara, in his fifth and final world cup sits in position number five in runs in ODI’s.

He leads a side that also include the world rated opener Chris Gayle, the dependable Shivnarine Chanderpaul and the mercurial Sarwan. Lindel Simmons Devon Smith, Dwayne Smith, Keiron Pollard, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Dinesh Ramdin, Corey Collymore, Darren Powell, Jerome Taylor and Ian Bradshaw complete the squad.

The West Indies play their second match in the group March 19 against Zimbabwe and March 23, they play Ireland.