"FEARLESS" WINDIES START BATTLE WITH INDIA ON SUNDAYMonday 7th November 2011
Delhi, India — West Indies Head Coach Ottis Gibson has called on his players to be “fearless” during the upcoming series against India and captain Darren Sammy believes that’s the “way to go”.
On Friday, Gibson made the rallying call and Sammy backed it up on the eve of the tour opener. The captain was speaking on Saturday afternoon as the Windies had a three-hour training session at the Feroz Shah Kotla, venue for the first of three Test matches.
First ball on Sunday is 9.30 am (12 midnight Eastern Caribbean Time/11 pm Saturday Jamaica Time).
“This is the biggest series for most of the guys here. Playing cricket in India is indescribable. This by far is the biggest test for us and for me as the captain as well,” the 27-year-old Sammy said.
“I totally agree with the coach. We have come here to play and we should be fearless. When we played at home earlier this year our sponsors Digicel had the launch of the Fire in Babylon movie and all the guys present know what West Indies cricket means to the people in the Caribbean. Some guys have actually walked with it on this tour and have been watching when they get the opportunity.”
The Windies arrived in Delhi on Thursday directly from Dhaka where they beat Bangladesh 1-0 in the two-match Test series and 2-1 in the One-Day series. During the first training session on Indian soil, Gibson urged his young side not to back down against the home side, but rather to assert themselves and play boldly.
“India may not be at the Number 1 position anymore but it is still a top side and we need to challenge ourselves against them and see where we are. We need to be fearless. The number seven team is playing the Number 3, and if we take a backward step it will be a sign of weakness,” Gibson said.
“Whether it is against Bangladesh or a top-ranked nation, winning first is very important. It is good to see so many of our young players coming into form and put in outstanding performances. But this is a different challenge and one that we are really looking forward to.”
The Head Coach added: “Over the last six to 12 months our fast bowlers have done well. We know that India obviously will be heavy on spin but we believe in the quality of our bowlers. What believe we have the quality to back ourselves. We know the ball doesn’t swing very long in India. You need to have added skills and we pay a lot of attention to that. We are skilled enough to reverse it and get wickets as well.”
This is Sammy’s fifth Test series in charge since taking up the job a year ago when the West Indies toured Sri Lanka. So far this year the West Indies have two wins, two defeats and three draws in Test cricket. Four bowlers – Devendra Bishoo, Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards and Sammy – have taken more than 20 wickets.
“Over the last year we have been able to bowl out teams twice in Test cricket. It’s an improving attack. We expect to continue the same way and let our pace do the talking. We also have Devendra Bishoo to complement us with his good leg-spin bowling.
“So far, we prepared well for the sub-continent. We just had a successful tour of Bangladesh where we played well in all departments. Our top order is scoring runs. We not only getting good runs, but they (batsmen) are also occupying the crease. Test match cricket is also about time in the middle and battling in all circumstances. We just hope the good form continues here in India.”
West Indies Squad: Darren Sammy (captain), Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh, Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shiv Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford
Team Management Unit: Ottis Gibson (Head Coach), Richie Richardson (Team Manager), David Williams (Assistant Coach), Desmond Haynes (Batting Consultant), C.J Clark (Physiotherapist), Hector Martinez-Charles (Strength & Conditioning Co-ordinator), Richard Berridge (Video & Statistical Analyst), Philip Spooner (Media Manager), Virgil Browne (Massage Therapist)
November 6-10: 1st Test at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
November 14-18: 2nd Test at Eden Gardens, Kolkata
November 22-26: 3rd Test at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
November 29: 1st ODI at Cuttack
December 2: 2nd ODI at Visakhapatnam
December 5: 3rd ODI at Ahmedabad
December 8: 4th ODI at Indore
December 11: 3rd ODI at Chennai
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