Pakistan will look to stay on track for a series sweep when they face West Indies in the fourth ODI today at Kensington Oval but captain Shahid Afridi has warned his team over complacency.
He also hinted a couple of changes in the team and said that he wanted to give youngsters a chance in the series.
“We would be resting a couple of players,” said Afridi. “Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Hafeez will be rested to pave way for Tanvir Ahmed and Taufeeq Umar.”
The all-rounder, however, said that fast-bowler Junaid Khan, who has taken just a solitary wicket in the three ODIs, might be retained.
“He is new to international cricket and we want to give him more chances,” said Afridi before adding that batsman Usman Salahuddin might be played in the last match.
Pakistan hold an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, following a three-wicket victory on Thursday in easily the most competitive match of the series.
The visitors won the first two ODIs at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in the neighbouring island of St. Lucia by eight and seven wickets before they almost stumbled in the third match.
Pakistan have used their spin bowling triumvirate of Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Afridi to tie down the home team for low totals before undertaking relatively easy chases.
This formula almost backfired in the previous match, leading Afridi to warn his side that they need to avoid complacency in the remaining matches.
Chasing a modest 172 for victory from a rain-reduced allocation of 45 overs, the visitors were left reeling on 49 for four, following a new-ball blitz from Ravi Rampaul, and the visitors required a steady, unbeaten 62 from Misbahul Haq to complete the job, after leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo threatened to wreak late havoc.
“There are still some problems with our batting, and I’m sure the management and coaches will come at us hard,” said Afridi after the third ODI.
“The way the boys delivered in the series was good, but batsmen need to spend some time in the middle.”
Hosts recall Sarwan
West Indies have moved to ease the pressure, recalling Ramnaresh Sarwan to their squad.
Sarwan was one of three senior batsmen dropped from the squad for the first three matches following the World Cup.
But the shoddy batting of their replacements – including left-handed opener Devon Smith, who makes way for Sarwan, following three lbw dismissals for low scores to the off-spin of Hafeez – have prompted the selectors to boost the experience in the side.
Sarwan has played 166 ODIs since his debut 11 years ago, but has scored only one hundred in the last five years – against Ireland – and managed just 155 runs at 25.83 during the World Cup.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy recognised that his side has a serious problem, and hoped they could turn things around.
“We as a batting unit, myself included, have to take more responsibility like Bishoo does with the ball,” he said.
The Pakistan vice-captain is yet to be dismissed in the ODI series and has scored the most runs (178) from either side. He has looked comfortable, in control and will be the key once again after his rock-solid innings took Pakistan past the finish line in the last game.
A four-wicket haul in the Twenty20 helped West Indies to a seven-run win and since then Bishoo has proved to be a thorn for Pakistan. The leg-spinner took three wickets in the last game and with spin likely to be key, West Indies will depend on Bishoo again.