Cricket Sports

Last Windies players leave for tough Afghanistan series

The last batch of West Indies players left the Caribbean on Tuesday to join their teammates in India, ahead of the limited overs series against Afghanistan set to bowl off next week.

Players and management began leaving last Sunday for the tour that includes three Twenty20 Internationals, three One-Day Internationals and a one-off Test, and the entire squad is expected to be assembled in the northern India city of Lucknow by Thursday.

Test players, like off-spinning all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, will join the side later next month after representing his native Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the Regional Super50, with the Test set to begin bowl off November 27.

The Super50 runs from November 6 to December 1 in Trinidad and St Kitts.

West Indies will face a tough challenge against the Afghans, especially with the series being played on subcontinent “home turf”.
The Caribbean side beat their hosts in their last meeting during the ICC World Cup in England earlier this year but it was only the second time in six ODIs they had registered a win over their opponents.

Afghanistan drew a three-match series in the Caribbean two years ago but then twice trounced the Windies during the ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe last year.

West Indies have been more dominant in the T20 format, however, beating Afghanistan in three of four matches.

The two sides have never met in a Test.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, have quietly assembled for the tour, with captain Rashid Khan the last player to arrive from United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.

And team manager Mohammad Nazeem Jaar said the hosts were well prepared for the challenge presented by West Indies.

“There has been a lot of change in the mentality of the team since the World Cup in July and we are hoping for a good series here,” he said.

“West Indies have been a good side, but we are ready to challenge them on home turf. We had our cricket at Noida and then Dehradun, but Lucknow is altogether a different place.”

Afghanistan were only awarded Test status two years ago and bagged their first win last month when they stunned Bangladesh in Chittagong.

Like West Indies, they have undergone a change of coach with former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener taking over after Phil Simmons stepped down following the World Cup.

Ironically Simmons, a former Test all-rounder, has now taken up the head coach role with West Indies.

The tourists will play a warm-up match next Tuesday before facing Afghanistan in the opening ODI two days later.

CMC

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