THE WEST INDIES face a tricky dilemma heading into today’s third and final match of their Twenty20 International cricket series against England at Kensington Oval.
Having secured a winning 2-0 lead, they have a choice between fielding their strongest 11 and pushing for a 3-0 “whitewash” or giving their reserve players some match practice ahead of the defence of their World T20 title in Bangladesh, later this month.
Captain Darren Sammy hinted that there could be a couple of changes to the side which trounced England by 27 runs on Sunday and five wickets on Tuesday.
“We have a few niggles so we will look and see. At the end of the day, we always stress, we want to win cricket games, but it is building towards the World Cup, so we want to give guys a feel of what it would be like,” he said.
“We will come up with the right 11 to play England on Thursday (today),” he added.
Mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine is again likely to be omitted to allow more time to rest his knee, which he injured chasing a ball to the boundary during the first T20.
Experienced fast bowler Ravi Rampaul, who went at ten runs an over in both games in which he didn’t bowl his four-over allotment, is almost certain to be replaced by uncapped left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell.
Attacking right-handed batsmen Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles also did not play in the first two games but both are likely to get a chance in the “dead rubber” match.
Fletcher could replace Denesh Ramdin behind the stumps, while Charles may replace Chris Gayle, who may opt to rest after recuperating from a hamstring injury.
But whether the West Indies would want to tinker with the fruitful opening partnership of Dwayne Smith and Gayle is left to be seen.
“Chris is one of the most explosive Twenty20 players and Smith allows Chris to play in that manner. Cricket is all about partnerships. We bowl in partnerships and when we bat, it’s very important,” Sammy said.
The captain, whose match-winning nine-ball 30 not out, hastened the Windies’ series-clinching win on Tuesday with seven balls to spare, is happy the team gained the type of momentum it was looking for before leaving for Bangladesh.
“We wanted to leave here with good momentum going into the World Cup. I can’t fault the lads. In T20 cricket the momentum shifts at different times and we wanted to make sure we started well and we finished well. It feels good. It’s been a long time since we won a series, much less winning 3-0,” he noted.
Sammy said they will be guarding against complacency even though they have beaten England eight times in 11 T20 Internationals since 2007 while losing only thrice.
On the other hand, England, with their pride dented, will at least want to salvage a consolation victory.
Barbados-born Christopher Jordan could get a chance to wear England colours in the land of his birth for either Jade Dernbach or Tim Bresnan.