ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Netherlands v West Indies, World Cup 2011, Group B, Delhi

West Indies look to convince the sceptics

Firdose Moonda in Delhi

February 27, 2011

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The West Indies squad formed a circle around the small field where they were going to do their fitness drills in Delhi. Two players took turns standing in the middle and hurling an inflated ball at their team-mates, who had to get out of the way or get hurt. They squealed and squirmed and amid the protests most managed to avoid being blasted in the end.

Not so when they are not in training.

The squad has been playing a figurative dodgeball with the media since the mid-90s and most times they get stung hard. Most of the international press don't have any positive feelings about the side, their ability, their commitment, their desire and their skills and nothing the players can say will change their minds. Those critics don't want justification, they want crucification, a forum to tell the men from the Caribbean, time and time again, that they have failed their predecessors and are simply not good enough.

This time it came as an accusation when a reporter said the West Indian batsmen were not prepared for South Africa opening the bowling with a spinner in their World Cup match on Thursday. "We were not caught off guard," Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain said. He was, of course, challenged on that statement. Why was Chris Gayle out after three balls if they weren't surprised? "These things happen in cricket," Sammy explained, before he attempted to justify further. "The second wicket pair put on a partnership of over 100."

None of it mattered, because the hyenas wanted more. The West Indies had only scored 222 in their first match of the tournament and hadn't even been able to bat out all fifty overs. The Netherlands, who they will play on Monday, managed to bat out their full allotment of overs and post 292 against England. Dodge that one, Darren.

Darren Sammy at a practice session, Delhi, February 27, 2011
Darren Sammy insists West Indies can cope with the loss of Dwayne Bravo © AFP

"They put on a good batting display against England. We saw how England bowled to them. We've been practicing hard in the nets. Our bowlers did their best defending 223 but we need a better batting and fielding performance."

Ah yes, that's what they want to hear: the West Indies admitting that they have to try harder and that they need to do more and that's it going to be difficult for them to do that. Already, the last part of that is fact because they are missing premier allrounder Dwayne Bravo, who injured his knee in the match against South Africa. "He covers two options for us, with bat and ball," Sammy said. "The other allrounders, and I am one of them, will have to put up their hands and put performances in on the field."

Sammy gave little indication suggesting who may replace Bravo. Having seen the South African spinners perform well on the Kotla pitch, he said that Nikita Miller "has a strong case for coming into the starting XI." That will leave them a batsman short given the lack of penetration in their attack, it may be more beneficial to have the extra bowler.

Bravo's loss is going to present the West Indies with this puzzle for the remainder of the tournament, they'll have to continually "rethink combinations" and will need to be able to rely on the top order batsmen like Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo even more than usual. It's a massive setback in their attempt to dodge more claims of incompetence, but it's one they are determined to turn into a positive. "Dwayne's injury will be an inspiration for us," Sammy said. "We've seen him give his heart for the West Indies and we are going to do the same."

It's a nice thought but not one that has anyone convinced that West Indies are serious about what they're here to do as could be heard from the snide sneers when that comment came out. Sammy became more serious, trying his best to put across that the knockouts are still in his team's sights. "Everyone in this team is responsible. We know what to expect. This is a must-win game for us."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Comments: 14 
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Posted by Narine on (February 28, 2011, 17:56 GMT)

I still believe in WI making it to the next round once they can beat Eng or India in the group stage to quiet those ignorant critics.....Victory today is a stepping stone for more good things to come from the WI. Consistency is there biggest enemy, WI needs to take advantage on the smaller teams carrying that momentum to the Eng & India games and WI should upset either one or even both on match day.... Resources are limited right now so continue with this winning team going forward. Go Windies!

Posted by ghazanfar on (February 28, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

i think west indian can't qualify for the super8s.because dwyane bravo is the main oponent for west indies and he lost him.so west indies is the weekest team group b.and chris gayle is not in a great form.so this is a other bad news for westindies.

Posted by S.Selvamurugan on (February 28, 2011, 4:52 GMT)

C.Gayle S.Chanderpaul D.Bravo R.Sarwan K.Edwards K.Pollard D.Thomas D.Sammy A.Russel S.Benn K.Roach

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 28, 2011, 0:26 GMT)

Gayle captain and bring back Samuels.


Posted by Dummy4 on (February 28, 2011, 0:11 GMT)

sorry athenik your logic is lossed. I think Chanderpaul if he is going to play should open.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 27, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

"West Indies look to convince the sceptics"; There are no sceptics; everyone is convinced that WI will lose. Time for this team to get off the intl stage.... the WI experiment is over. Time for individual countries to take control.....

Posted by thomas on (February 27, 2011, 22:59 GMT)

I honestly think that if Malone Samuel is not inserted into this present team this will expose the heart of the selectors, knowing that in time passe they were the ones playing inter Island politic with the game that so unite us, We need Chanderpaul to stabilize the middle order,but Smith hasn't proven himself in this kind on milieu at that level.We need someone who has a record of performance like Samuel not Smith this man always chokes'

Posted by thomas on (February 27, 2011, 22:49 GMT)

We need Malone Samuel on the squad, he is just as good as Dwayne Bravo

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 27, 2011, 22:41 GMT)

Darren sammy needs to stop talking and perform, so does chris. @athentik i agree with u one hundred percent. in fact i would go one step further to state that sammy is not at all able to lead this side, he doesnt contribute with the bat or ball, and apart from flipping the coin he really does nothing, even his field placement is questionable. our bowling also is just not good enough, and our players seem to be playing back yard cricket, with the exception of Darren Bravo, and Dwayne Bravo who was run out by chanders in the first game after going so well. Devon thomas looks to be a good keeper and we need to play another paceman. all in all the players need to buck up and play a hundred percent better.

Posted by Hildreth on (February 27, 2011, 22:13 GMT)

All eleven players selected to play for Windies against the Dutch must step up their game. The Dutch should not be taken lightly as demonstrated against England. An extra bowler is absolutely necessary to keep the Dutch scoring to a minimum. In the absence of bravo's replacement Miller would be the best choice to suit the conditions. Sammy should share the new ball with Roach. I agree that Chanderpaul who seems woefully out of form should be replaced by Kirk Edwards for the next game, unless he perfoms well in this game. The same could be said about Pollard re Russel. There is no room for out of form cricketers in this or any competition. I'm looking foward to a great batting display from the Windies' batsmen especially Gayle and Sarwan. Go Windies !!

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