Caribbean superstars set to test fledgling Ireland

West Indies will look to avenge its 2015 World Cup defeat to Ireland when the two face off at Belfast on Wednesday.

West Indies will eagerly await Chris Gayle’s return to boost the side.   -  Getty Images

West Indies may be struggling to challenge big teams in big formats, but if there is one form of cricket one can arguably say it can put up a strong fight in, it is ODI cricket . The Caribbean side has firepower with bat and ball, hard-hitting batsmen and potent all-rounders who can change the complexion of contests in a jiffy. On Wednesday, it faces Ireland, a side that had defeated it in the World Cup in 2015, in a one-off ODI in Belfast.

Ireland has been challenging top international teams for quite some time, and its persistence paid off when the International Cricket Council conferred on it Test status alongside Afghanistan. However, when it comes to ODI cricket, it is not in the same league as its formidable opponent from the island nation.

The ODI is part of an arrangement via which England, or the international team touring that country during the summer, plays a short number of limited-overs matches in nearby Ireland. It is meant to allow for match-practice for the fledgling cricketing nation, and even the Test status may not change the current cricketing calendar rapidly.

In that sense, the ODI is a much-needed practice for Ireland, no matter the mismatch in terms of quality. West Indies, on the other hand, will be relieved to be playing a version where it can flex its muscles. After a hard-fought Test series against England, its morale will also be high as Chris Gayle & Co., the well-known superstars of the game, will return to boost the side.