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Greenshirts face uphill task

KARACHI: Pakistan will have a tough task on their hands when they go head to head with the West Indies in a five-ODI series which starts on Saturday (tomorrow) in St Lucia, a place where they lost a sensational ICC World Twenty20 2010 semifinal by three wickets to Australia 11 months ago.

Sixth-place Pakistan start the series with a difference of 35 rating points relative to eighth-placed West Indies in the ICC ODI Championship table. This gap means they are expected to win the series convincingly. As such, because the rankings are weighted to reflect this difference, failure to win comfortably will mean Pakistan will drop points.

In fact, the only way Pakistan will not drop points is by making a clean sweep in the series. In this situation, Pakistan will earn just one rating point while the home side will concede two ratings points.

However, if Pakistan win the series 4-1, they will surrender one ratings point while in case of a 3-2 series win they will drop three points. In sharp contrast, the West Indies will earn points in both these scenarios — one in case of a 4-1 defeat and three in case of a 3-2 loss.

In the ICC ODI Player Rankings, the highest-ranked players from either side are Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi who is third in the all-rounders’ list and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal who is in 17th spot in the bowlers’ table.

In the absence of Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, at least from the first two ODIs, the highest-ranked West Indies batsman is Dwayne Bravo in 76th position. Meanwhile, there is no Pakistan batsman inside the top 20 but Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq figure inside the top 40 and will be eyeing an upward movement.

Series schedule:

23 April — First ODI, Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia

25 April — Second ODI, Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia

28 April — Third ODI, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados

2 May — Fourth ODI, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados

5 May — Fifth ODI, Providence Stadium, Guyana.