West Indies can go all the way in the World Cup – Bayliss

The Windies haven’t won a bilateral ODI series for close to five years and are presently ranked ninth in the 50-over format. However, both Richard Pybus and Trevor Bayliss, the respective coaches of the Windies and England, noted that with the mainstays of the line-up returning to the setup, they can spring up surprises in the upcoming World Cup to be held in England and even hoist the trophy.

The Windies have been bolstered by the return of some of their star players. Darren Bravo, who didn’t play international cricket for close to two years, made a comeback to the fold for the limited-overs series in Bangladesh last year. Chris Gayle is playing in the ongoing ODI series versus England, while Andre Russell, the powerful all-rounder, has been picked for the final two games of the series.

“I know the right West Indies combination with a fully-focused side can beat anyone on their day,” Richard Pybus, the Windies’ interim coach, noted. “I wasn’t at the World Cup qualifiers but, with the group of guys we have now, we feel confident (we) could take down anyone on their day.”

“The Windies have been playing some decent cricket over the last 18 months,” said Bayliss. “With the size of their batters and the way some of them hit the ball, there can be a chance of winning that World Cup.”

Pybus commended Gayle for his impressive show in the first two ODIs. The southpaw opener cracked a hundred and followed it up with a fifty during the Barbados leg of the ODI series. However, the left-handed batsman also was criticised for playing out dots during the initial phase of his innings in the first game. The point can be capsulised by the fact that he faced a total of 55 dots from 0 to 100.

Pybus, though, defended Gayle by noting that the veteran was trying to get a feel of the wicket early on. “I can’t speak on behalf of the selectors but I think Chris has put forward a very resounding case. He’s just class, really. It’s always great having guys in your side, who are a bit scary for the opposition, who know full well what they can deliver.

“In those first two games, Chris was getting a feel for a spongy wicket batting first. It can be a game of two halves in Barbados. He was playing himself through. But, as we have all seen in T20, he can attack that first powerplay brutally. On good wickets, he’ll be going hard pretty early.”