West Indies v India, 1st ODI, Trinidad June 5, 2011

Sammy hopes for improvement against spin

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Trouble looms large for West Indies against spin. It was with spin that Pakistan pinned them in May and it's with spin again that India will strive to get them. West Indies' captain Darren Sammy, however, was hopeful his batsmen would put up a better show against India in the ODI series, even though they struggled in the one-off Twenty20.

Sammy based that belief on the experience gained by the West Indian batsmen against Pakistan's spinners. He reckoned Harbhajan Singh would be easier to deal with because he doesn't have the guile of Saeed Ajmal. "We should play Harbhajan better than we did against Pakistan. Ajmal was different. He was very difficult to pick because of his doosra. Harbhajan, in contract, is more orthodox and our batters should do well against him."

Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez grabbed 12 of the 26 wickets that fell to bowlers in the five-ODI series and India have two offspinners as well, in Harbhajan and R Ashwin. Sammy took positives from the Twenty20 defeat against India, saying though his batsmen couldn't score freely they showed they could keep their wickets.

Sammy said that rotating the strike will be the key, a discipline he stressed on even against Pakistan. In Saturday's Twenty20, there were 58 dot balls. "You can't get bogged down. They [batsmen] have been working hard with Desmond Haynes," he said. "Each individual will have his game plan and the focus should be to rotate the strike. You will have to sweep, use your feet, play with soft hands, all those things come into play."

Sammy was still irked by the fact that the pitches continue to be slow and spin-friendly in the Caribbean. "The tracks have slowed down in the last decade or so. We have seen the Indians struggle against bounce and pace in the past but we haven't had wickets to suit us for some time now. There is little we can do about it. We have to play on the tracks that groundsmen produce"

Sammy hoped the presence of Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan could improve the prospects of his team. "Everyone knows what Pollard can do. Bravo and Sars will add experience. Then there are the youngsters like Darren Bravo and Bishoo. Darren has the flair of Lara but he wants to make his own name, which is very good. He can be the next great West Indian batsman. He is working hard."

It's the batting that Sammy is worried about. He is confident that his bowling attack can defend 250 against India on these tracks. That may be debatable but the real battle will be between West Indian batsmen v Indian spin.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bigwonder on June 6, 2011, 21:59 GMT

    Numbers speak and Bhajji made an outstanding contribution with ball and a six with bat. Don't care what Sammy says, at the end of the day, he lost the game and his words lost the strength. Way to go Harbhajan.

  • dummy4fb on June 6, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    who cares...what the pakistani fans think!!! Harbhajan takes 3/32 off 10 overs..Sammy eating humble pie or crow more like it. Two match winners from pakistan, mohammed and mohammed??? i must have missed it..why are they not playing??LOL

  • streetblader on June 6, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    @AINA: ha ha... i read through all ur comments and your "lame" arguments... Thats the reason why cricket and women do not go together... :-)

  • Bigwonder on June 6, 2011, 17:26 GMT

    @Wahaj Hashmi, Rather then bashing others, lets just see what happened today. Harbhajan took 3 wickets with an economy of 3.38

  • dummy4fb on June 6, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    @Aina Maria Waseem Common you think Zaheer with all his success on Indian wickets is not better than the likes of Sohail Tanveer,Tanveer Ahmed,Umer Gul and Wahab Riaz in tests currently?Pakistan still is a better bowling team though.Afridi is more of a bowler now.@Wahaj Hashmi Shoaib Akhtar has to be a disappointment with only 46 tests in 13 years though.I rate Asif more than Amir even with his slower pace.But sad they met such an end.

  • DaGameChanger on June 6, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    No disrespect but Afridi has average of 55 per wicket against India and also in WC, had lot of minnows wickets. Zaheer was wicket taker when India needed not in one game but each game. Thats what makes a good bowler GREAT.

    People who are comparing Harbhajan and Saeed Ajmal are comparing apples and oranges. Harbhajan has been playing for 11 years. Lets see how much Saeed Ajmal is feared after he plays for 2 year forget 11 years. Whenever a new spinner comes to the block say Mendis, Bishoo, Ashwin...its easy for them for couple of yars..true test comes when you have played long time.

  • dummy4fb on June 6, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    Its really funny D Sammy is called as all-rounder .. In Sir.G.Sobers country is this also possible? then all Indian player will have to call all-rounder including pkumar, bhajji even Munaf .. he he he he he WICB please stop this nonsense.

  • dummy4fb on June 6, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    well said @Omair Hasan,

    @Adee, so what, even an over rated Bhajji is more than enough for sammy and his gang...it would have been better if Sammy had kept "his" thoughts to himself...and let his bat and ball do the talking

  • dummy4fb on June 6, 2011, 16:18 GMT

    From a neutral point of view.. Doosra is a Pakistani art and it is the Pakistanis who are the best at it (Murli is an exception).

  • dummy4fb on June 6, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    @CandidIndian - Talking about making sense, I read both your arguments and I can promise you, she made more sense and you made none. Ironic is the fact that your post is filled with questions all answered in her post written before you, read it again. What's more, you lost all credibility the moment you called Amir, Asif and Akhtar over-rated, and bashed her for not making sense due to "not providing stats" while yourself providing none. All you did is make completely unfair, one-sided comparisons completely in favour of Zaheer. Epic Fail.

    @spinkingKK - Saqlain and Kumble were "not feared by oppositions" and were "not lethal"? God, lets all just facepalm at this laughable nonsense.

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