World Cup in Law’s sights
Former Australian batsman and new West Indies coach Stuart Law would undoubtedly have been aware of the enormity of the task facing him before even applying for the job.
Cricket in the Caribbean has been beset by infighting and rows between players and administrators and it is against this backdrop that the Aussie begins his tenure.
His first task will be to see that the West Indies qualify directly for the 2019 Cricket World Cup by virtue of their ICC ODI ranking.
The West Indies need to move one spot up the rankings by September 30 to go straight into the quadrennial showpiece that will take place in England.
Failing that the men from the Caribbean will have to play in a qualifying tournament that will feature fellow Test nation Zimbabwe, unless the Southern Africans schedule and win a raft of ODIs before September, Ireland and the top four teams in the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship currently led by the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Scotland.
This tournament could prove a tricky prospect for a team low on confidence considering they have suffered recent losses to Zimbabwe and Ireland, during the 2015 World Cup, and the conditions will suit Afghanistan down to the ground.
Only two teams will progress from the ten nation qualifier to the ten team World Cup.
Of all the cricket in front of Law’s charges he has singled out the ODIs as the most important.
Speaking ahead of the three match series against England Law said: “The main aim is to qualify for the next World Cup, the 50-over World Cup, so these one-day games are extremely important to us.
“So that’s our main focus really at this stage. I know we have Pakistan coming for T20s, Tests and one-dayers as well but the one-day series probably will take paramount importance.”
The West Indies poor ODI form has led to them missing out on the eight-team ICC Champions Trophy later and Law is eager for his men to avoid the embarrassment of failing to reach the World Cup for the first time ever.
Law added: “It’s a great little tournament, the Champions Trophy, the mini World Cup and to not be there probably isn’t where you want to be.
“You want to be in every single one of those tournaments but it is what it is. We’ve just got to make sure we have our heads screwed on for the one-day tournaments we play in upcoming tours and if we can win those, we can get through to qualify for the World Cup. That’s probably the bigger one to worry about.”
The coach recognized the raw talent at his disposal but had to concede that the inexperienced and unsettled unit will take time to be molded into world-beaters.
He continued: “We’ve got power. We’ve got extreme power. Match that with a bit of technique as well, we’re looking pretty good.
“For me, it’s about seeing how it all operates.
“Learning the different cultures from the different islands and how to address people and how to get the best out of the young kids is probably the most important thing for me now.
“I’m not going to focus on becoming No. 1 in the world at this stage. I’m focusing on building a culture, building a work ethic in the dressing room that will put the little brick in place so that they can become the best they can be.”
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