HYDERABAD: Two years ago when the city last hosted an international match – the series deciding T20I between India and Australia – the tie was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Though a repeat of that match looks unlikely despite it raining here over the last two days, the Kieron Pollard-led Windies team was greeted by overcast skies when they landed here for the first of the three-match T20I series to be held at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Friday.
Under the watchful eyes of former opener and chief coach Phil Simmons, Windies were all business at their first practice session on Tuesday.
The 56-year-old Trinidad & Tobago player, who had represented the Windies in 26 Tests and 143 ODIs, and successfully coached the team to the 2016 ICC World T20 triumph, was reappointed as the head coach of the team just before the Afghanistan series, which the Windies won with ease.
Given the manner in which the Indian team is rolling over opposition in all formats, it should be a real challenge for Windies, but the visitors believe they have the men and ability to put up a determined show. It showed in their preparation here. Though the practice at the Uppal Stadium was scheduled from 2 to 5 pm, it went beyond that with Simmons keeping the players busy with his inputs.
Simmons has already spelt out his plans for this series. Speaking after the one-off Afghanistan Test match, which Windies won by nine wickets in Lucknow, he had said: “The next World Cup is in Australia (2020) and the one after that is here in India (2021). There is a lot of preparation to be done, first for Australia. We have given the players here a chance in this series and we know we have players outside who may be coming in later. So it’s good to give those here another opportunity.”
The Windies are keen to get everything right, and took the help of four left-arm spinners and four leg-spinners at the nets session.
Another man keen for a smooth conduct of proceedings is Mohammad Azharuddin. It will be the city’s first match after Azhar became the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association.
“Yes, it’ll be a new experience for me. All these years I used to come, play or lead the side and go back to the hotel after the match, wherever it was played. But organising the match is a new experience for me,” the HCA president said.
“Fortunately for me, I have a team of seasoned members who are well versed with the requirements of hosting an international match. Rest assured, we’ll leave no stone unturned in making this a good and enjoyable experience for everyone,” Azhar added.