West Indies have arrived in India for what should be a tough international series of One-Day Internationals and Tests.
And manager Sir Richie Richardson has promised a much better showing than the hurriedly arranged, ill-fated two-tests series that facilitated Sachin Tendulkar’s home retirement and which West Indies lost miserably last year. Sir Richie told reporters at a media conference today that he hoped their additional training camp ahead of the series would help them turn around their recent fortunes against the Indians.
“We have arrived a good time [in advance],” Richardson said. “We have a few days to practise and get acclimatised. All of our players have been engaged. We have just come out of a successful series against Bangladesh and all of our players have been involved with cricket. Some are still playing [in the CLT20]. We feel we are in much better shape, much better prepared to take on the Indians and we are just looking forward to a very serious challenge, a good challenge and a successful challenge.”
Richardson also acknowledged it would be a huge task for West Indies with the Indian team desperate to get back to winning ways after a poor Test series in England.
“When you lose, especially when you are a top team and you lose, you just can’t wait until the next series to really put things right,” he said. “I just hope that it continues to be a problem for India. We know they are going to look to avenge what happened in England. Put things right, because they were heavily criticised. But we are up for the challenge and we also have a lot to prove. So we are going to go there and play positive cricket and look to beat India.”
Over the past three years, India and West Indies have become the most familiar of opponents. Since India’s tour to the West Indies in June-July 2011, the two teams have played each other in eight Tests and 16 ODIs.
After playing three Tests and five ODIs in India in the winter of 2011, West Indies returned for two Tests and three ODIs last year as part of an arrangement to bid farewell to Tendulkar in Mumbai. Over the next seven weeks, the two teams will again be pitted against each other in five ODIs, a Twenty20 and three Tests, starting with the first ODI next week Wednesday.
West Indies interim coach Stuart Williams didn’t think the amount of cricket between the two countries had resulted in waning interest. Instead, he felt the series against India gave West Indies an opportunity to challenge themselves against a high-ranking team.
“The calendar is set up as such that once you get the opportunity to play international cricket, we look forward to it. India obviously is a high-ranked team and West Indies is hovering in the seventh or eighth position. We look forward to playing India or anybody else. Whichever challenge we get, we are looking forward to that.”
West Indies will be without Chris Gayle for the ODI series since he is recovering from a lower-back injury. However, Williams said the opening combination wouldn’t be too much of a problem with Dwayne Smith and Lendl Simmons around. “Those guys having played here in the Champions League, they are very familiar with the conditions as well.”
Meanwhile today the West Indies’ principal spin weapon Sunil Narine got a vote of confidence from the coach of his Indian Premier League franchise team Kolkata Knight Riders, Trevor Bayliss.
Narine was cited for a suspect action when bowling his faster delivery and Bayliss said if any bad habit had crept into Narine’s action, he was sure that it would be easily ironed out. He expressed surprise however at question marks being raised over the ace spinner.
“Nothing has been said over the last three years since he has been with KKR. So, it’s a bit of a surprise but Sunil is a character. He is confident that it might be a problem in technique, something he can go on and work on,” he said.
Bayliss said Narine had a long career ahead of him.
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