KINGSTON, Jamaica – A misfiring top order has left West Indies with issues to resolve ahead of Sunday’s decisive third One-Day International against Ireland, and captain Kieron Pollard is not opposed to trying new combinations as his side take aim at an important series win.
In both matches at Sabina Park so far, the Caribbean side has suffered early collapses, slumping to 62 for four in 19th-over in the opening ODI and then 111 for seven in the 34th over, before recovering on both occasions to get behind the 200-run mark.
And with the usually prolific Shai Hope, newcomer Justin Greaves, Nicholas Pooran and Roston Chase all failing in both games, Pollard said thought would be given to how best to improve the top order for the decider.
“It’s not something we have talked about just yet … but if that is something that after consideration and after consultation it’s something we think is best, then it’s something that we have to do,” Pollard said.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over [and expecting a different result] so let’s see what happens over the next couple days.”
He added: “There are things to work on in that dressing room but I think we need to put the pieces of the puzzle together pretty quickly from a batting perspective.”
It was Pollard’s robust 69 along with debutant Shamarh Brooks’s silky 93 that hauled West Indies out of trouble in the first ODI, the pair adding a Sabina Park record fifth-wicket stand of 155, to power their side to 269 and a 24-run win in the end.
And though Brooks chipped in with 43 in the second match on Thursday, Pollard managed only one, and it was left to the rookie pair of Romario Shepherd (50) and Odean Smith (46) to bail West Indies out of trouble.
Shepherd smashed seven fours in a 41-ball knock while Smith belted two fours and five sixes in a 19-ball stunner, the duo putting on a crucial 58 for the ninth wicket.
While hailing both players, Pollard stressed it was important the specialist batsmen took responsibility for their performances.
“Special praise must go to Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith,” noted Pollard.
“These guys have gotten an opportunity to play cricket in the international arena and they’re coming out and showing the determination and the hunger.
“Odean Smith in that situation I told him ‘just play your natural game’, and he went out and showed what he can do.
“Sheppie, even when Odean came you saw the batsmanship, he took a back step and let Odean go for it.”
He added: “As an individual and a batter, I take it on my chest – failing in this game – but I guess the rest of the guys, they have to do that [as well].”