West Indies v India, 1st Test, Kingston, Jamaica June 19, 2011

Sammy banks on fast pitch


There's hope in the Caribbean air. You can feel it at Sabina Park. You can hear it in the chuckle of Charles Josephs, the curator, and in conversations with ground staff. "This is Jamaica. Not Mumbai. The ball will bounce and get your men," is its essence. A simple, age-old theory: bounce the Indians and expect them to wilt. Though we'll have to wait to see how the pitch actually plays, and whether West Indies' fast bowlers can unsettle India's batsmen, it can only be a good thing that home fans are approaching the Test with optimism, considering the shenanigans beyond the boundary.

There is confidence in the West Indian camp as well. Darren Sammy, the captain, expects the pitch to suit his bowlers, who will be aggressive. Even young Darren Bravo said "a few of the Indians can get intimidated." Ian Bishop, a former West Indian fast bowler and commentator, isn't convinced a few Indian players, Suresh Raina for instance, can handle the bounce and pace.

"This is the pitch that suits our style," Sammy said. "We managed to restrict India to 250 and the batters were very comfortable chasing it. The mindset is different, the batsmen are confident that the ball won't spin like it did in the first three ODIs. Records speak that if you have more firepower, you have a better chance against India."

Sammy's presence in the Test side is still a thorny issue, though. Does he upset the balance? Wouldn't Fidel Edwards or Andre Russell be a better pick? Is Sammy weakening the attack? "My role has been the same since I started playing for West Indies," Sammy said. "I am a stock bowler. I go out and do it to the best of my ability." If he can be a consistent performer with the bat, it wouldn't be so bad. "I am disappointed that my Test batting hasn't been as consistent as it should be, but I am working hard."

Sammy expects West Indies to restrict India to less than 300. "In the last two games played here, the most recent one was against England, both teams scored around 300 in first innings. The one before was against Australia. We lost by 60 runs. We restricted them to just over 250. If we restrict them [India] to under 300 or so and can get a lead …"

West Indies' batting, though, has been the discipline with the most problems in the recent past. Sammy is confident that Kingston's conditions will help. "Our batsmen will favour their chances against Indian bowlers knowing the type of wicket we will get," he said. "Harbhajan is very experienced and Mishra has given us some trouble. You can't be complacent. This wicket would be suited to our batsmen. I am expecting our batsmen to give a better show."

Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo, who comprise the top order, are light on experience, but Sammy highlighted their quality. "Barath is very promising cricketer. He scored a hundred in his first Test. He is coming back from injury but we all know his mental strength. He has the mental capability to carry on with his starts. Young Darren Bravo came to form in the last ODI and Simmons is in good nick. He knows his game and executes his plans. The top order might be short of experience but they have the game to do it."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naveen on June 20, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    Sammy has already lost the TEST Series because of his hope to get indians out by RELYING on the PITCH rather than his teams ability to play hard cricket.

  • Vikas on June 20, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    LOL ! The article heading explains the confidence of WI taem ....they banks on fast pitch..that measn that they do not have enough confidence in their bowlers. And I also wanted to make a comment on the Martin..who in couple of days ago ahd an interview saying that "no one can coma here and thrsh me on my pitch"..Well i would say that he is new to this international cricket n he don't know what happened to the most confident fast bowler "umar gul" in word cup semis...If he do not control his emotions soon he too would disappear for ever from the international cricket....LOL.

  • Durgaprasad on June 20, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    All The Best Dravid for his 150th test.

  • KISH on June 20, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    I think West Indies should pick 6 batsmen, keeper, then Sammy, Rampaul, Roche, Edwards and have Marlon Samules in the batting lineup to do some spin. West Indies definitely have a better bowling attack than India who will struggle to get one quality bowler to suit the conditions. Normally, I would have predicted and Indian win. But, this time, I have to predict an hard-fought win for the West Indies. With Ishant Sharma leading the attack, it is one of the most mediocre bowling attack in the world. I will be very much surprised if India win with this bowling attack on a pitch expected to be fast. Hopefully, rain, Laxman and one of the youngsters will save the match for India.

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    I'm scared that indian selectors might pick Suresh Raina over Badri, yes badri had a poor ODI series, but so did raina, raina has had 8 tests, badri has had 2, give badrinath a good chance in this series, it is test cricket he won't throw his wicket away like raina does, raina is too flashy for test cricket and pokes at ball outside off too often.

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    i think raina will play first test against w.i. he ia one of best and all you guys just listen dont forget that raina hitted centure in his first debute. Hopefully he did that again. good luck india,good luck raina.

  • Len on June 20, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    Even if the groundsman prepare a quick or bouncy wicket at Sabina, WIndies will lose.Their batting technique in the one dayers was hopeless as they did not know how to use their feet to the spinners or the quicks.They may play Roach , Russell and even Fidel Edwards, but none of those bowlers have the consistency in line and length, though they may have the pace and neither will we worry India with spin, whether it be Bishoo or Hamilton.

    We also have a captain that is neither proficient with bat or ball, lacks tactical nous and the support of the team, (and I am not only talking about Samuels.) India will win the series, but more important, I hope the WIndies prove me wrong in my estimation of their discipline and fight to make a development in all these fields, whether they win the series or not.

  • Sriram on June 20, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    @Rahul_78, the answer is very simple. Sharma is the only one who can bounce and PK is more skiddy but conditions should favour him and he is no gr8 with old ball..though Bhajji and Mish would relish bounce if there is some turn on days 3 and 4.

  • Reghu on June 20, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    This will be a differrent version from the ODI series.... WI had earned late glory in the ODI series much to the surprize of many indian fans, supporters due to the irresponsible batting display by certain players, inclusion of assured non performers like Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma etc. In tests, team selection will be very crucial.Any single non performer included will ruin the game.WI will be much much more tougher team in tests. Sarwan, Samuels, Russel, everyone has regained form.Indian bowling will be really tested here.I really doubt whether the indian bowlers are capable of taking 20 wickets .I think in test matches, Ishant shuold be preferred ahead of PK and MP as he has pace.Lets pray that the mad man gets line and length........and hits the deck when required and rediscovers teh old buried yorker delivery.......ideally team would be vijay,mukund,kohli,dravid,badri,dhoni,vvs,bhajji,ishant,mishra,munaf

  • Sumeet on June 20, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    Real shame on BCCI since Mithun is missing this test. The test team was announced way back and the visa formalities should have been done and dusted much earlier than they were. Because of this stupidity, on a pace friendly surface, India might just have to go in with 2 pacers, one of them being Praveen Kumar. With all due respect to Praveen, he is just a medium pace bowler, who's probably more suitable to English conditions than here in Jamaica. I would keep Kohli and Badri at 4 and 6, Raina's struggles against both pace and spin being suspect. I would have also liked to see Rohit being asked to stay back. Talent wise, he's probably better than both Kohli and Raina. It's the temperament which makes Kohli a better choice than him.

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