Stuart Law: ‘We are not backing down’

On the eve of the third ODI, the Windies coach—who returns after two-match suspension for breaching ICC code of conduct— sounds confident of his side’s chances.

Windies coach Stuart Law with batsman Shai Hope during a practice session in Pune on Friday.   -  Prashant Nakwe

With the series evenly poised after visiting team managed a tie in the second ODI in Visakhapatnam, Windies coach Stuart Law believes that his team has been able to put the pressure back on India, forcing the host to strengthen its bowling with the inclusion of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

PREVIEW: Chance for India to extend series lead

On the eve of the third ODI, the Windies coach—who returns after two-match suspension for breaching ICC code of conduct—sounds confident of his side’s chances.

Excerpts…

What are your thoughts on the ODI series so far?

After the first game, I think we fought back well. Credit to our batters, the challenge was set from the skipper to score 300 plus and we have done that twice in two innings. The batsmen are doing their job. We just need to raise it (by) five per cent in other areas to make sure that we are capitalising. Having said that, there is no reason for us to stop putting our foot down on the gas. We’ve got to start working harder and make sure we continue this rise. I have said that all along that they are very good cricketers. Once they start making the right decisions, we can see what they do. (Shimron) Hetmyer has been outstanding, (Shai) Hope got a hundred in the second game. They can hold their heads very high.

They’re (India) giving us plenty of questions to ask ourselves, but at this stage, we’re coming up with pretty good answers. I know it’s a tight series, we have still got to win to level it tomorrow, so we understand the enormity of it. We’re not backing down.

After a disappointing run in the Tests, do you think you have given something for the Indian team to think about in the ODIs?

Yeah, I would like to think so. That’s probably the reason why they’ve called back their two most experienced one-day bowlers. We came here understanding that it was going to be tough, but to our credit, we haven’t shied away from it. We’ve understood it, we’ve asked questions and had numerous honest discussions about how to improve and how to tackle the Indian team. But I think the conversations we’ve had, the honesty that’s been there has been great for us.

So yeah, hopefully, we are getting the Indians to ask questions to themselves. They’re giving us plenty of questions to ask ourselves, but at this stage, we’re coming up with pretty good answers. I know it’s a tight series, we have still got to win to level it tomorrow, so we understand the enormity of it. We’re not backing down.

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Have you figured out how to dismiss Virat Kohli?

How do you get Virat out? He gave us a chance at 40. It was a difficult chance but at this level, you take that. The complexion of the game certainly may have been completely different. He’s a wonderful player, ball-striker. I just love the way he goes about compiling an innings. Looks like he’s working very hard but he’s doing it very easy. That’s a credit to his preparation, his off-field, his fitness and everything. So we do have plans to him. At the moment, he’s coming up with a lot of good answers, so we’ve just to keep asking questions about his technique and his abilities. In the end, he’s only human. But when we get an opportunity, we’ve got to grab hold of it.

With Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah coming in for India, will there be pressure on Hetmyer and Hope?

With the fast bowlers — I don’t think the pressure goes away no matter who you play against. If you’re a batsman in a cricket team, you’re under pressure to score runs all the time. So the pressure is no different. I’ve listened to commentary, I’ve listened to numerous talk shows, talking about the match-up between Windies and India and not too many people have given us a chance of competing in this series. But that’s fuel to our boys’ fire. They like being written out of the contest, and it gives us an opportunity to go out and play good cricket. There’s no pressure on us. We’ve just got to do our thing and do it better than we can do.

Also read: The Windies future via Hetmyer

You were suspended for the last two games and were not in the dressing room. Would your presence have helped the team approach the last game differently?

I have missed being part of the dressing room. I’m not the best watcher, to be honest,..but you get a different perspective on TV, which I have managed to talk into in the training, through the different meetings that I have with the different coaches, whether it is during the breakfast or dinner.

The players have played enough cricket and understand how and what is needed to be done. It's on us, as coaches, to facilitate what the players need to do to produce the best out in the field. I’m not saying anything out of the ordinary, I'm just here to support. I love these boys like my own son; you just want them to go out and play well. I don't think the dynamics in the dressing room will change. It's just my job to oversee the whole process and ensure that the boys play their best cricket on the ground.