West Indies and India meet on Wednesday in the third and final T20 International to decide the winner of the series at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai from 9.30 am. With the teams locked at 1-1, the series win is not as lucrative as the final spot both teams fought for when they took on each other in the semi-final of the ICC World T20 three years ago at the same venue, which the Windies went on to win, but it would a big boost for Kieron Pollard’s side, now ranked 10th in the shortest form of the game.
On Tuesday, West Indies coach Phil Simmons guarded against any hopes that the occasion was as grand as on March 31, 2016.
During the pre-match press conference, Simmons told reporters, “2016 is a long time. A lot has happened since then. I think we’re confident because of the way we’ve played in the two games before. We’ve lost one and we won the second one and I think that brings the confidence in the way we’re playing, the way we’re preparing. I think that gives me confidence and that gives the players confidence.”
While Lendl Simmons led the way to victory in the second match on Sunday, the Windies will be without hard-hitting all-rounder Fabian Allen, who is yet to recover from a knee injury.
Coach Simmons is less concerned about the pitch as he is with how his players play on it.
He said, “They are still doing a lot of rolling on it (the pitch) but I do not think twice about a Wankhede wicket, for every game it has been a brilliant wicket and brilliant matches.”
Simmons also said Pollard’s experience playing with the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League at the stadium will be an advantage for his side.
“Pollard has played a lot at this venue, the others have not played that much. I think the experience which they have got from here is invaluable and especially the captain, as he has been here for 10 years,” he said.
While he stopped short of comparing former white-ball captain Jason Holder and Pollard, Simmons praised the Trinbagonian for beginning a change agent to the culture within the team.
He said, “I didn’t have Jason a lot in one-days when I was here before. Kieron is proactive. He is proactive in all the players and letting them know what he wants from them and what he expects from them. He has been good in the fact that they know he will give everything for the team so they’ve been challenged to give everything for the team and I think that’s where it started. There’s a long way to go still but that’s where he started.”
Meanwhile, Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma remained weary of the threat the Windies pose in the final match of the series. Sharma told the media, “They are very unpredictable as a team, you never know what they can come up with on that given day, like we saw the other day. Even the first game, they played very well and it was Virat Kohli’s brilliance that got us over.”
Following the conclusion of the T20I series, both teams will play a three-match one-day international starting in Chennai on Sunday.