Stuart Law has assured regional fans he is getting close to the aims and objectives he would have set when he accepted the post of head coach of the West Indies senior team.
Law told Barbados TODAY that some members of the team were highly talented but they were still young to international cricket and had not played together for a long period. But he added the team was growing and the players were working very hard to improve their overall skill sets.
“If an analysis is done of the number of games they’ve played and compared against the teams they have played, the [West Indies] side is very inexperienced. Every game the boys play, they are gaining experience all of the time. They are asking plenty of questions and we are putting good people around them to make sure that their talent is developed for the improvement of our cricket,” Law, who took up the position of head coach 17 months ago, said.
Law added: “Obviously, as the coach, I would like to win every game but that is pretty hard for most teams. Among the things I am striving to achieve is that when we are on top in a game, we are able to kill it and put it to bed, and if we are behind the eight ball, we still stand up and fight and get ourselves back in position. If we can do these things, we will be successful. We are starting to see signs that we have people that are willing to stand up and fight for the cause.”
The Australian who held several coaching positions before taking up the post with the West Indies team in January last year said he loved working with the Caribbean team.
“The boys have been great. I had to break down a few walls, change a few things with the culture but the players and I have really enjoyed working together. They have understood it is a lot of hard work and it is not just turning up and playing. They have appreciated that a lot of hard work must be done behind the scenes to make a team successful, they have bought into it and are really working very hard,” Law said.
The West Indies will engage Sri Lanka in their first Test series for 2017 next month. The first Test of the three-match series will be played at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad from June 6 to 10, the second Test at Gros Islet in St Lucia from the 14th to 18th and the third Test which be the first day/night Test in the region will be held at Kensington Oval from the 23rd to 27th.
Law said the Sri Lankans were a very plucky team, with a quality spin attack and good batsman and he did not plan to underestimate them.
“We cannot take any team lightly. However, they are in our backyard and we are not going to back down from a fight. We know what their strengths and weaknesses are. We have some pretty good intelligence on their players and coaches. We are aware of the kind of opposition we will be encountering. We know who we will be coming up against,” he said.
Law added: “We don’t want to focus much on the opposition at this stage. We plan to ensure that we have everything in place to combat whatever they throw at us. The team is looking forward to the day/night Test at Kensington Oval, which will be the second time we will be creating history by playing the first day/night Test in a country. We did it in England last year, with the first Test at Edgbaston. The boys are looking forward to their first day/night Test on home soil and what should be a great series. I hope the fans will come out in their numbers for this historic occasion.”
However, he told Barbados TODAY he did not think the West Indies would have a home advantage in the series because the pitches in the region were similar to those in the subcontinent. He hoped the West Indies could get some grassy tracks in order to unleash their fast bowlers on the visitors. Law stressed that West Indies fast bowlers would enjoy bowling on pitches with bounce and carry. He said that would take away one of the big strengths of the Sri Lankans which was spin bowling. He stated the pitches of his choice would be those that were fast, rock hard with good pace and carry for the entire duration of a five-day Test match.
Law expressed his delight that all-rounder Andre Russell had been recalled to the team for the Twenty20 International relief benefit match against the ICC World XI at the end of the month. Russell had been suspended for one year due to missing a drug test.
“I cannot wait to see him in live action for the West Indies. I have watched him play from the stands but to have him going about his business for the West Indies will be great. It is good to have a cricketer who is turning out good performances in the Indian Premier League playing for the West Indies. He is keen to play a lot of white ball cricket for us, so hopefully he can go out there and put on a show in the relief match,” Law said.