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May 2, 2013
Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, is looking forward to returning to Wales with his West Indies team during the Champions Trophy, for what could be a group decider against South Africa, holding fond memories of his time there for Glamorgan.
Gibson played for the county from 1994 to 1996 and remembers the support he received from crowds that have "passion and love" for the sport and hopes that can be replicated on June 14.
West Indies play their opening two matches at The Oval in London, against Pakistan and India, where they will like to think they can latch onto the Caribbean community which used to support the team in force during their heydays of the 1980s but the fans have been a far smaller presence in recent years with the side struggling.
However, the Welsh public have had few chances to see West Indies in their backyard - they have only played a single ODI, against New Zealand, in 2004 - and Gibson has asked them for a strong display of support.
"I played for Glamorgan in the early stages of my cricket career and people welcomed me into the county. It was a really good time and the people of Wales were nice and good to me," he said. "The people there are very passionate about their team. I believe if we can get there early and get the support of the locals that would be great for us
"I had many highlights from my time there; I got over 60 wickets and made 700 runs in my debut season, so that was a very good start to my county cricket career in the UK. I had a very good time and great experience.
"When I was at Glamorgan, we also had amazing support when we played around the county circuit and at Cardiff Wales Stadium and I know that support has continued over the years. It's a wonderful place for sports and you always feel the passion and love for sports over there."
However, Gibson's first priority will be to ensure his team still have a chance of progressing to the semi-finals when they reach Cardiff. October's Twenty20 success gave the long-suffering fans in the Caribbean a moment to savour, but Gibson knows it is vital the team build on that especially with a World Cup to follow in 2015.
"This is a good opportunity for us as a one-day team to see where we are compared to the other guys. This tournament format is similar to how the World Cup is going to be - you have to get out of the group stage to advance to the second phase.
"We hope the success and the experience we had in Sri Lanka will help everybody to stay calm when the pressure is on. We believe we can win these big tournaments. So, this is something that we are really looking forward to."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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