AMSTERDAM, Holland (CMC) – Head coach Phil Simmons has given the assurance West Indies will play at full intensity despite coming up against unfancied Netherlands in the three-match One-Day International series starting here next week.
The Caribbean side are ranked ninth, five spots above their opponents who are ICC associate members, and are heavy favourites to pull off a clean sweep of the series scheduled for the VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen.
However, Simmons said West Indies were taking the series seriously and would not be using it as a trial for newer players even though the Netherlands were not necessarily top-tier opposition.
“We have to play our strongest team,” Simmons stressed.
“One, to win the games but also to get that knit going. There’s a new captain and he’s got to get the knitting of this team together so that everything flows.
“We have three – which everyone would agree – more difficult games (against Pakistan) after here but right now is where we start building this squad.”
The tour will be the first-ever ODI series between the two teams and will run from May 31 to June 4. It forms part of the ICC ODI Super League, the top seven of which gain automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
Following the series, West Indies will head to Pakistan where they will take on a strong home side in a similar three-match series from June 8 to 12 in Rawalpindi.
Simmons was quick to underscore the importance of the Super League points, pointing out this meant West Indies playing their best cricket against the Netherlands.
“The first thing you have to realise (about this series) is that it’s cricket and (the Netherlands) have been playing cricket for a long time now. They qualify for World Cups,” he noted. “To do that and to win those points you have to play cricket properly so you have to prepare properly.”
West Indies are coming off three successive series defeats, swept 3-0 away by India last February after slumping to a shock 2-1 loss to Ireland the month before.
They also suffered a 2-1 defeat to Australia in the Caribbean last year and have now only won three of their last 10 series.
West Indies are scheduled to practise for the first time on Friday and Simmons said it was critical players made a smooth adjustment to the conditions.
“We only came in (on Wednesday) … so we will know over the next three or four days before the first game how we’re adjusting by the way we practise,” Simmons said.