West Indies v England, 3rd T20, Barbados

West Indies ready for title defence - Gibson

Renaldo Matadeen

March 13, 2014

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A
Croft: 165 was too much to chase

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson thinks his team is ready to retain their World T20 title in Bangladesh. Gibson believes that despite losing the final T20 against England, the 2-1 series win was a pleasant indicator as to his team's current standing. He deemed England the perfect litmus test for him and his management to gauge the squad going into their title defence.

"These three games were an indicator as to where we are as a group," Gibson said. "It's been a great series for us. We know it's going to be a tough job to retain the trophy but the team is in a good place at the moment. We know what it takes to win the tournament. We just need to look after the basics of the game that need to be applied but we're more than capable of retaining. The batting's in a good place and that's very important."

Gibson downplayed the loss in the last T20 as a setback as he drew "a lot of positives from today just like the other games."

"We wanted to win all three games and it's been a long time since we've won three on the trot in any format," he said. "We came with the intention to sweep the series but England came really hard at us in the first ten [overs] getting over a hundred. Then we pulled it back in the second ten by limiting them to sixty or so. Even though we lost, we had players like [Chris] Gayle resting and we decided to give [Sheldon] Cottrell a chance to get themselves into the T20 atmosphere."

Gibson said that while he was disappointed with his top-order capitulating today, their batting strength was something he thinks other teams will be wary of when the tournament starts. "Our batters are in form and gelling. They're eager to settle and acclimatise and we've got two warm-ups against England and Sri Lanka," he said.

Darren Sammy celebrates his winning boundary, West Indies v England, 2nd T20, Barbados, March 11, 2014
"We are ready," says West Indies coach Ottis Gibson ahead of the World T20 in Bangladesh © AFP

Andre Russell, who struggled in the series, is part of Gibson's plans too and he suggested the allrounder could be an ideal replacement for Kieron Pollard. "Russell had a great CPL and as you know, we're missing Pollard so we're trying to give Andre the opportunity to fill the Pollard role but we have to give him time to grow into the role. We believe strongly in Russell and that he has the the capability, the game and the power to do that job," he said.

Gibson also admitted that their spin attack would be "the most massive part" of their arsenal as he tagged Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine as "outstanding" but also warned opponents not to underestimate his seamers such as Ravi Rampaul and Dwayne Bravo. He said that their wealth of experience would prove advantageous and also touted Krishmar Santokie as a big addition to their pace attack. However, Gibson said that the team would need to work on their fielding as it proved a troublesome area for them, which was exposed in this series.

"I'm confident we'll be ironing out our kinks in time for the tournament and we think the conditions there [in Bangladesh] will favour us so we'll tweak and assess. It's time to analyse some more in the important areas. I'm not too perturbed with players like Gayle and Badree who are resting little niggles but we've no serious injury concerns. We have the experience and we're going out there to play entertaining cricket. We're ready," he said.

Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

I think they are coming along very well and he is also coaching them to the best of their abilities

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

Now let me chime in. Concerning Russel, I have absolutely no confidence is his batting. Russel does not bad sensibly. Unline Sammy, he does not take a couple balls to get his eye in. And his shot selection is terrible. I have more confidence is his bowling over his batting. Mr Ravi Rampaul. I do not remember the last time you had a good performance in the Internation T20 game. I do believe that Santokie should be given the nod over him as he has proven to be a very valuable bowler. Please do not include Johnson Charles. I prefer having Fletcher as a 12th man in case an opener goes down. Fletcher is a better T20 batsman and better keeper although the keeping wont matter. Gotta also give probs to Ramdin. He has really improved his batting. Its good to see him improving. All in all the squad looks good. Good luck WI, I will be watching.

Posted by simonviller on (March 15, 2014, 5:40 GMT)

WI lack consistency in many areas including thoughtfulness . A team with so much talent should do much better with the right approach . Why are there so many dot balls ? Why are so many trying to hit sixes before feeling bat on ball ? Why are there so many misses on direct hits ,unlike most teams ? Do you work hard enough on this aspect of your fielding coach ? Please talk to Russell COACH ; a defensive stroke is part of the game also !!!

Posted by wirus on (March 14, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

WI lack imagination. For instance in this last match, why not do something unexpected in the bowling like opening with Narine or even more surprising - Samulels. Just something to make the batting team tentative and maybe sneak out an early wicket or two as Root did against WI in ODIs.WI seem very one dimensional. Even in field placing - when batsmen are going great guns against you why not try something totally unexpected like setting an attacking test match field for an over, as though it were the 1st morning of a test and Roach was steaming in. Again it may just put batsmen off to have close in fielders in a T20. At any rate just depending on some big hitting and some spin won't get far. We all wish the team well but they will have to play out of their skins in most matches and then hope that the other team doesn't.

Posted by Reuelsean on (March 14, 2014, 14:47 GMT)

Russell has a lot of work to do, a lot. His batting is horrible, and his bowling questionable. I have no doubt in his potential to become a good allrounder, but he just isn't there yet. He is awesome in the field tho, which is his only positive right now.

Posted by jahblessed1 on (March 14, 2014, 14:39 GMT)

oh boy oh boy wait for zimbabwe they going to win the cup

Posted by   on (March 14, 2014, 11:32 GMT)

Gibson's plans for Andre Russell are understandable in Pollard's absence but Russell must learn to play sensible 'situational' cricket and learn fast ! Pollard honed his T20 skills over a long period of time at IPL and Big Bash so it's a big ask of Russell to "fill the Pollard role". As Ian Bishop commented, Russell is a "work in progress" and I concur. Good luck at the World Cup Andre !

Posted by sreehk on (March 14, 2014, 6:53 GMT)

I am an Indian cheering for West Indies in T20 this year. Really love their combination. Only miss a few speedsters like Fidel or Roach and obviously Pollard. Yet they are the most charming team on display. Gayle, Bravo, Narine, Sammy, Samuels, and Badree make it the most colorful and exciting line up. Great that coach Gibson is trying out new players like Santokie and resting Gayle. All teams in the world are giving chances to their bench players except India. It is such a shame on Dhoni, Fletcher and management that bench strength is completely untested going into a world cup. Dhoni has even bunked the high profile press meet to escape questions on Indian team selections and IPL issues. This tells he and Indian cricket have done wrong and hence the hiding.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2014, 5:57 GMT)

I disagree with Gibson on 1. Bravo's bowling prowess: He's a useful bowler, but he was dispatched with ridiculous disdain today. You mean that he couldn't bowl at least 1 unhittable ball? That's all they needed. 2. Rampaul: He's looking a bit tame. If he's going to be tame he has to be at least spot-on as Bopara more consistently 3. Russell: I'm kinda doubting his ability (besides his athleticism in the field). He throws away his wicket so easily and he needs to work on bowling more variations and a better length. My Squad: Gayle, DRS Smith, Samuels, Simmons, Bravo, Ramdin, Sammy, Narine, Badree, Santokie, Cottrell

Posted by Lakpj on (March 14, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

They are in a tough group with Pakistan, Aus and India. If they can get through it I am backing them again to reach the finals and may be take the remaining step.

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