West Indies v Australia ODIs - Men's
'Embarrassing' pitches offer perfect World Cup prep
West Indies captain Kieron Pollard slammed the state of wickets for the ODI series but the Aussies say dealing with slow surfaces will keep them in good stead for the T20 World Cup
27 July 2021, 02:58 PM AEST
While West Indies captain Kieron Pollard launched into a furious tirade over the standard of the Kensington Oval pitches for their ODI series defeat, Australia see it as ideal preparation for type of cricket they expect to be playing in the coming months.
Matthew Wade told Pollard in a typically competitive exchange during the third ODI that he was probably playing in his last one-day international, but he says he is ready, if asked in the absence of Aaron Finch, to take the T20 captaincy reins for the five-match T20 series in Bangladesh next month.
Pollard labelled the Barbados wickets for their low-scoring 50-over 1-2 series loss as "embarrassing" and "unacceptable for international cricket", but their spin-friendly and wearing nature could be a taste of what all teams will face at this year's T20 World Cup.
The four venues for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman are set to host a staggering 76 games in just 56 days from the re-start of the Indian Premier League on September 19 through to the World Cup final on November 14.
Wade, who scored a match-winning unbeaten half-century to seal a six-wicket win on Tuesday morning AEST, insisted the inconsistent nature of the pitches for the ODIs was no surprise to him.
"It was hard work, but I played one-day cricket when I was very young in 2012 (in Barbados) and the pitches were exactly the same," said the 33-year-old.
"It was nice to get some exposure on these pitches with what we've got coming up, obviously with Bangladesh and the World Cup in the UAE as well.
"Until you really play on them it's hard to know how to go about it."
Wade singled out stand-in ODI captain Alex Carey, who finished as the series' leading run scorer with crucial knocks in game one (making 67) and game three (35), for praise after learning from his dismissal in the second ODI where he was bowled by left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein.
"You saw the way Alex Carey batted today – that's the kind of exposure you need from how he played the other day compared to tonight," said Wade.
"You continue to play on these wickets and you find a way to make runs. I've been lucky enough to play in these conditions in India and Asia and understand what it takes to grind some runs out.
"You can't really play the way we like to play in Australia.
"I thought our adjustment from the last game to this game, especially with the bat, was a very positive sign."
Wade knows too well how the surfaces at Dhaka's Sher-e-Bangla Stadium are likely to play having taken the gloves there in Bangladesh's famous maiden Test win over Australia on a raging turner in 2017.
They are the type of conditions Australia have consistently struggled in, but the performances of Wade and Carey with the bat and spin twins Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar with the ball will have provided encouragement they are becoming less foreign.
Allrounder Ashton Turner also showed promising signs after striking a vital 49 in the series opener before taking the key wickets of Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran with his off-spin in the ensuing matches.
And the series-leading 11 wickets from Mitchell Starc, at an average of 10.63, was no surprise given his phenomenal record in 50-over cricket.
"No doubt by the back end of the (World Cup, pitches) are going to take some turn, they're going to be pretty tired, so it was a great learning this series," said player-of-the-series Starc.
"No doubt there'll be plenty to take into the next five games in Bangladesh, and (there will be) something to take out of that heading into the World Cup as well.
"Playing against subcontinent teams is definitely a great lead up to a World Cup based in the UAE.
"There's definitely a lot of positives to take from this series win, and still some things we can learn about. Another positive is the way our spinners bowled in this series as well."
Finch was in transit to Melbourne as the Aussies wrapped up the series win as he gets set to likely undergo surgery on his right knee when he emerges from his mandatory two-week quarantine in a bid to be fit for the World Cup.
Pat Cummins is Australia's vice-captain but is one of a host of top-flight players missing the Caribbean and Bangladesh tours, leaving Wade as the likely man to lead the T20 side in Finch's absence.
The wicketkeeper (who played as a specialist batter in the ODIs with Carey taking the gloves) captained Australia in a T20I against India last summer when Finch missed through injury and Cummins was rested.
"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it," said Wade. "I obviously captained (against) India.
"If I captain, I captain. If I don't, I don't. As I've said previously we've got a really experienced group and I'm happy to take the reins from Finch, but if they want someone else to do it I'm happy just to play as well.
"At my age it doesn't worry me too much."
Australia depart on a charter flight for Dhaka on Wednesday.
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia squad: Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (vc for ODIs), Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (vc for T20Is), Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.
West Indies ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Shai Hope (vc), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Anderson Phillip, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd
T20 series: West Indies won 4-1 (all matches at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia)
First T20: West Indies won by 18 runs
Second T20: West Indies won by 56 runs
Third T20: West Indies won by six wickets
Fourth T20: Australia won by four runs
Fifth T20: West Indies won by 16 runs
ODI series: Australia won 2-1 (all matches at Kensington Oval, Barbados)
First ODI: Australia won by 133 runs
Second ODI: West Indies won by four wickets
Third ODI: Australia won by six wickets