Australia to start as favourites: West Indies coach Simmons

Georgetown (Guyana), June 2 (IANS) West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has downplayed their chances in the tri-nations series starting here on Friday, but said it would be a mistake to underestimate his side.

The West Indies are poised to clash with One-Day world champions Australia and the powerful South Africa side from June 3-26 in Guyana, St. Kitts and Barbados, reports CMC.

However, the hosts are ranked eighth in One-Dayers, 36 points behind table leaders Australia, with the Proteas 24 points ahead in the third spot.

“They are number one and three in the world for a reason so we need to get up there and that’s the reason we need to play these teams so we can see where we are. Especially if we beat them we know we’re somewhere close to them,” Simmons told reporters here on Wednesday.

“The number one team in the world has to be the favourites going into the tournament but that’s the thing, I don’t think we were favourites in India at the T20 World Cup so you play the game as you see it.”

The West Indies open their campaign against South Africa on Friday at the National Stadium here and follow up with a clash against the Australians on Sunday at the same venue.

The West Indies have not played a One-Day at the venue in nearly four years but have had mixed results at the stadium, winning four of eight contests.

Simmons was, however, divided on whether the National Stadium would provide an advantage to his side.

“I don’t know about home advantage. It’s been a while since games have been played here so I don’t know about home advantage,” he said.

“Usually you get good wickets here, great outfield, good crowd so it could be a little bit of home advantage. But how we do determines which side the crowd gets on.”

“Here you can get big scores, chase down big scores and that’s all it is. A good wicket is a wicket that everybody and can bat and bowl and get good scores for the people to watch.”

The series is the first for the West Indies since winning the Twenty20 World Cup in India in April.

–IANS

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