GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (CMC): West Indies once against find themselves in the unenviable position of hoping to make a fresh start, when they clash with Pakistan in the opening one-day international (ODI) of the three-match series here today. The hosts were completely outplayed in the four-match Twenty20 series over the last two weeks, culminating in a 3-1 defeat and the squandering of precious momentum ahead of the one-day series here at the Guyana National Stadium. Despite the run of poor form, however, captain Jason Holder said his side remained buoyant and were focused on drawing first blood. “The mood in the camp is very good. I think everybody is positive going into this series,” the all-rounder told media here yesterday. “There’s no point dwelling on the past. We obviously have to learn from the past, but it’s a fresh series and we’ve got something to look forward to here in Guyana. “Guyanese people always come out and watch cricket and they are avid cricket fans, so it would be good to start the series well here in Guyana and give them something to shout about.” PAKISTAN AS FAVOURITES SQUADS WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jonathan Carter, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell, Chadwick Walton PAKISTAN – Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Zakir, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Fahim Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Asghar. Pakistan will start as favourites, especially based on recent and past history. Last October, they trounced the Caribbean side in a three-match series in the United Arab Emirates. In fact, West Indies have not beaten Pakistan in a bilateral series in 26 years, and have lost nine of the last 13 ODIs against the Asian side in the Caribbean. Holder was quick to acknowledge the Windies’ status as underdogs in the series but said it could also work in their favour. “Pakistan are ranked higher than us and they’ve obviously beaten us in the last series we played in the UAE (United Arab Emirates),” Holder pointed out. “They’ve started this tour well. I believe we’re probably the underdogs right now. It’s not a bad tag to have. The expectation is pretty much on Pakistan to beat us, and that’s incentive for our guys. We must go and show them that we can beat Pakistan.” Put under severe pressure in the T20 series by 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan, Holder said it was imperative the Windies batsmen did not repeat the same mistakes. “I think it boils down to each individual. We’ve go to work out our game plans for certain bowlers,” he explained.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said she is quite honored and described as an unexpected pride the decision by the West African Football Union (WAFU) Congress to name the regional tournament in her honor; adding it is not for an honor bestowed on me but a recognition of the LFA’s leadership, the country and football enthusiasts. According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf was speaking in Monrovia over the weekend when a high-powered delegation led by LFA President, Mr. Musa Hassan Bility formally presented an official communication on the decision of the WAFU just ended Congress held in Dakar, Senegal – conferring the WAFU Tournament in honor of the Liberian leader.President Sirleaf termed the decision as a rallying cause for Liberia to reach out to the private sector and development partners with a view to using it to Liberia’s advantage towards the development of the skills, talents and sports infrastructure. She said despite challenges faced by the national team amid some success, it was encouraging that Liberian-based Club teams were out there trying to compete.She lauded LFA President, Musa Bility and the entire leadership of the Football Association and pledged her administration’s support in working with her colleagues in the sub-region to ensure a successful tournament. Earlier, LFA President Musa Bility said he was pleased to inform President Sirleaf of the decision emanating from the WAFU Congress held in Dakar, Senegal – thus unanimously naming the regional tournament in the Liberian Chief Executive’s honor. The LFA boss said WAFU Secretariat anchored its determination in favor of President Sirleaf based on her leadership at the national, regional and global stage. Mr. Bility said applications from both Nigeria and Togo posed no challenge to the Congress’ unanimous action in favor of Liberia. The tournament commences October 29, which coincides with President Sirleaf’s 76th birthday. According to the FA President, the WAFU tournament has over the last 15 years not been named in honor of any particular distinguished personality; noting the late Togolese President, Gnassingbe Eyadema was last regional leader in whose honor the tournament was named. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)