After their one-off One-Day International against Ireland in Belfast on Wednesday (September 13) was abandoned without a ball being bowled, Windies were left with the unlikely task of beating England 5-0 – or winning 4-0 with a no-result/tie in the first match – in their five-ODI series starting this Sunday at Old Trafford.
If Windies can’t secure one of those scorelines, they will finish at No. 9 in the International Cricket Council ODI team rankings as of September 30, with Sri Lanka clinging on to the eighth spot. Only the top seven teams as on the cut-off date, apart from England, the 2019 World Cup hosts, qualify directly for the marquee tournament, and Windies must then take part in a qualifying event next year to try and get into the ten-team competition. If Windies do pull off the improbable result against England, Sri Lanka will slip to No. 9 and be a part of the qualifier.
Jason Holder accepted that qualifying automatically would be a tough task but was looking forward to the series against England. “England are a quality cricket side and they are playing at home,” he said. “We’re at the stage where we are looking to turn a corner and qualify for the World Cup, whether we have to go through the qualifiers or qualify automatically. We’re excited for the series and hopefully we can play some good cricket.
“It won’t be an embarrassment to play in the qualifiers. We are where we are and if we do have to play in them, we will take it one step at a time.”
Windies, who lost the recent Test series against England 2-1, have been bolstered by the return of Chris Gayle while Marlon Samuels is expected to join the squad in time for the first game.
“We are still a work in progress and hopefully more players are coming back,” said Holder of the amnesty offered by Cricket West Indies to players like Gayle and Samuels. “Meantime, we have a young group of players challenging for places and hopefully they can come in and make their presence felt and feel more comfortable in the international arena.”
Windies fly to England on Thursday ahead of a one-off Twenty20 International at Chester-le-Street on Saturday. The ODI series starts on September 19 and runs till September 29.