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March 21, 2007
Bennett King, the West Indies coach, has said that that West Indies' six-wicket win over Zimbabwe at Sabina Park on Monday was 'scrappy' and called for an improved showing in the remaining matches. He stressed that a steady build-up to the harder matches was what he was after at this stage.
"You don't win a World Cup in March, you have to win it in April," King told reporters. "Brian [Lara] said at the beginning of the tournament we're looking for some momentum and two wins certainly gives some. I think it's important to build and not play all your best innings now, although it would have been nice if we had won with one or two wickets down."
The display by West Indies was not flawless or as ruthlessly efficient as the captain and coach would have wished. After Lara had asked Zimbabwe to bat first, the bowlers sent down 15 wides, as opposed to two in their opening fixture against Pakistan. When chasing 203 to win, Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels all got starts but were unable to carry on to substantial scores.
"That was a scrappy win," King said. "I'm glad that we fought it out nice and hard to get the points, but the pitch showed that if you got in, you really needed to knuckle down, work hard and continue on. It took people a little bit of time to get in once they started. We didn't do that very well.
"We certainly didn't bowl as well as we bowled the other day. The wides were still a concern. We bowled too many of them."
On the positive side, King contended that the faith shown in this group was paying off. "We've been able to keep a similar squad for a year or two now and I think that's been one of the keys to us moulding as a more competitive force. It's the players coming together and knowing that they've got some loyalty and people who care about them."
Looking ahead to the final group match against surprise Super Eights contenders Ireland on Friday, King said, "I'd like to think if we play to our capabilities we should come out on top. There are three Australians [in the Irish team] who we are quite familiar with. My assistant coach [David Moore] actually played and coached in New South Wales and actually looked after some of those fellows. So we have a reasonable understanding and know what their capabilities are."
© Trinidad & Tobago Express
As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history