KOLKATA, India – West Indies captain Darren Sammy says he hopes his side can capitalize on India’s current One-Day International frame of mind and stage an upset, when the opening Test bowls off here on Wednesday (Tuesday, 11:30 p.m. Eastern Caribbean time).
The hosts displayed incredible form, especially in their batting department, en route to beating Australia in the recent run-filled seven-match ODI series at home.
However, Sammy believes if India’s batsmen fail to make the adjustment to the game’s longer form, there could be an opening for West Indies in the two-Test series.
“They have been playing a lot of one-day cricket. They have been on the go. It was a run-fest in the last one-day series so hopefully their batsmen will come out playing a lot of shots and we will get some edges down at slip or some lbws or some bowled outs,” Sammy told reporters here today.
“Hopefully they will be in that same frame of mind and make more mistakes early up in their innings.” India’s batting stats in the just concluded series
against the Aussies make for intimidating reading. Rohit Sharma struck only the third ever double century in ODIs, 209, as he amassed 491 runs from six innings while Virat Kohli scored two centuries to finish
with 344 runs. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit a century in
collecting 245 runs, to join Rohit and Kohli in averaging above 100 for the series. Attacking opener Shikhar Dhawan, meanwhile, slammed a century and two half-centuries in gathering 284 runs.
Unfortunately for the Windies, all four batsmen comprise India’s top order in Tests, an intimidating prospect for the tourists, but Sammy remained adamant his bowlers would not be targeting any one player.
“We have respect for India. When you look at their recent one-day series their batsmen have been in good nick. No one wicket is the prized wicket,” Sammy indicated.
“Everybody in the top six minus [Murali] Vijay has been playing really good and has been in good form. It would be a tough battle for our bowlers.”
He added: “Last time we were bowling against the likes of (Virender) Sehwag, [Gautam] Gambhir, [VVS] Laxman, [Rahul] Dravid, Sachin [Tendulkar] and [MS] Dhoni, and we bowled them out three times with four bowlers.
“We are going to be confident and look to execute our plans and look to get 20 important wickets.”
And it is on his bowlers that the Windies skipper has placed much of his emphasis, hinting that selectors were likely to opt for two spinners on an Eden Gardens strip that already appeared spin friendly.
This means off-spinner Shane Shillingford, who missed last weekend’s three-day game against Uttar Pradesh with a sore neck, is likely to suit up along with left-armer Veerasammy Permaul.
“Looking at [the pitch] it already looks like a fourth-day pitch from the cracks I have seen there. Two spinners and two out-and-out fast bowlers and an all-rounder probably would be the way to go,” Sammy said.
“You need two spinners in India. Last time we played a combination of six batsmen and two out-and-out fast bowlers with myself and [leg-spinner Devendra] Bishoo. Probably we will look at it differently this time and come up with a right combination.”
He continued: “Shillingford in the last two Test matches got 19 wickets. He is bowling really well. In Test cricket we need somebody who could bowl overs and be patient. As the selectors said, we can’t burn out everybody.
“Young Permaul with the ‘A’ team did really well. So a left-arm spinner and an off-spinner in Shillingford is equally capable.”
The Caribbean side have not beaten India in a Test match in 11 years and more dauntingly, have not won a series on the sub-continent in three decades.
When they were last here two years ago, they went down 0-2 in a three-match series but Sammy believes the experience has made his unit wiser.
“After the series in India we went on to win six matches in a row. We’ve come back with much more experience,” he asserted.
“Our young batsmen have gained some experience. We’re in a better frame of mind. We’re playing much better. We have come here with good frame of mind.”
INDIA – MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma.
WEST INDIES – WEST INDIES (from): Darren Sammy (captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sheldon Cottrell, Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Chris Gayle, Veersammy Permaul, Kieron Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford,
Chadwick Walton. (KP)