We want to repeat success of 2004 - Sarwan
Former West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan advised his batsmen to observe the basics of the game as West Indies mount their charge to repeat their success from the 2004 Champions Trophy. The 2013 edition begins on June 6 and West Indies will play their first match on the next day against Pakistan at The Oval.
"It is important that you start off trying to play the ball as late as possible." he said. "The good thing about it is that the outfields are pretty quick here, so even if you have sweepers out and you time the ball well enough it will probably go for four. You will get value for your strokes.
"It would be a great achievement to win this tournament. When we won back in 2004 we came in as underdogs. We want to repeat that," said Sarwan, who was adjudged the player of the tournament in 2004. He scored two half-centuries in four matches, including one in the semi-final and finished as the second highest run-getter of the tournament.
Sarwan laid the onus on the top-order batsmen to provide a solid foundation so players like Kieron Pollard and captain Dwayne Bravo could make the most of the latter half of the innings.
"The key is to give yourself a chance and try to 'get in' and just like everything else it gets easier." he said "Keeping wickets in hand at the top is vital and we all know we have a lot of power at the end to capitalise, as we are able to clear the boundaries."
After a month-long stint captaining Leicestershire in Division Two of the County Championships in England, Sarwan joined the West Indies side on Monday feeling confident about his batting. He had scored 227 runs in five matches, including two fifties.
"It's a great opportunity for us to do well as a team. I was fortunate to be here a little early so I'm basically already acclimatised and have been striking the ball well. I have spent a lot of time batting at the crease, which is a good sign for me, even though I don't have the big scores to show for it. I was pleased with the way I was striking the ball in the nets and I will look to perform and contribute to the team's success."
Expressing satisfaction over the performance of West Indies last year, Sarwan reiterated the views of West Indies coach Ottis Gibson about getting used to English conditions as soon as possible.
"We did really well in the T20 format to win in Sri Lanka last year and I believe we have a very sound squad for this tournament. The conditions will play a part as well with the ball swinging and we will have to make the necessary adjustment with the bat. For the younger guys it will be vital that they get used to the conditions and be ready when the matches get started."