Cuttack, Nov 28: West Indies captain Darren Sammy today said that India would miss a finisher in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been rested, during their five-match ODI series, starting here from tomorrow.
Dhoni has remained unbeaten in the last six one-dayers against England, both at home and away. In fact, coming down the order, he has played the vital role of a finisher especially in the five-ODI series at home recently, which India managed to whitewash 5-0.
“There is no doubt (that India will miss Dhoni)...looking at the one-day series against England (both away and in India), Dhoni contributed a lot at his position. Basically, he finishes the game for India all the time,” said Sammy.
“I do not think he got out at all in those one-dayers. Without Dhoni in that batting order, somebody will have to play the role of a finisher. But we will be looking at our squad and focus on what we have to do in order to beat India,” he added.
Having players like Kieron Pollard, who is an integral member of Mumbai Indians in the IPL T20, in their ranks, Sammy felt that the Windies would return home on a winning note, putting behind the disappointment of the 0-2 thrashing in the three-match Test series.
“We all have seen what he (Pollard) has done here in the IPL. Last time he played in the World Cup, he batted well. He has a lot of knowledge about the Indian conditions and Indian players, having played here for three seasons. We look forward to his knowledge and use that to our advantage.
“We have the belief that we will come out well and look to win matches. We as a team are looking to improve in every aspect of the game whether in Tests, one-dayers or Twenty20s. We are looking forward to what could be a very exciting five-match ODI series. Both teams have equally capable players who can make an impact,” Sammy insisted.
Sammy's men are looking to draw confidence from their last two victories against India when the two teams played in the 50-over format.
India under Suresh Raina had won the first three matches but lost the last two to settle for a 3-2 series win over the Windies during the tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.
“When we played at home it was a keenly-contested series. The last two ODIs we played against India, we won at home.”
However, Sammy admitted that at their own backyard Indians would be tough to beat. India have a nine-match winning streak at home with their last loss coming against South Africa in a group match in the World Cup.
“They are playing good one-day cricket at the moment. I don't think they have lost for a while at home. It would be a very very tough challenge. But we have belief to do well.”
Sammy underlined the importance of grabbing the chances.
“Our coach always tells us that you need to create opportunities in order to win. Throughout we created chances but so far we have not been able to win. Hopefully, in one-day series we grasp these opportunities with both hands and go on to win the matches,” said Sammy.
Heaping praise on coach Ottis Gibson, Sammy said under him the team was managing its fitness well.
“We are showing a professional attitude. The guys are much fitter. We played five Test matches in five weeks and we had only concern through diets and food related issues.
“Apart from Bishoo, who got injured in the last Test, the rest of the guys have stood up in tough conditions. Fitnesswise we gained stronger as a team. Under Gibson, we are heading in the right direction. The batsmen are showing signs that they can bat for long period. Most of all, we are showing a fighting spirit,” explained Sammy.
Stating that his team would opt to set a total on a track, which seemed to help the batsmen, Sammy said, “So far in the Tests, the team batting first had the advantage. We look to set a total and defend it. Hope that the bowlers will make inroads.”