Pakistan in West Indies, 2011 May 17, 2011

Gibson hails West Indies spirit

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, hailed the team spirit and character his side showed in winning the opening Test against Pakistan by 40 runs to secure their first success in more than two years.

It ended a 17-match wait for a Test victory having last won when they overcame England at Sabina Park in 2009, a side who Gibson was bowling coach of at the time, and gave some much-needed respite to the West Indies management after being roundly criticised in the lead-up to match.

In a low-scoring encounter at Providence, Gibson felt it was the fight shown by the batsmen that helped them over the line. "The way we batted out the first day and the way we understood how difficult it was going to be showed me that everyone understood what was happening," he said.

"In the past, given the nature of the pitch we would probably have capitulated, but to hang in there and battle all day on the first day was what probably set us up for the fight we showed in the next three days."

A key period in the match was the 48-run stand for the final wicket in West Indies' second innings where debutant legspinner Devendra Bishoo hung on with Shivnarine Chanderpaul to set Pakistan a target beyond 200.

"The contribution from the lower order was exceptional," Gibson said. "One of the things we have changed in our nets is that 'everybody is a batsman'. Everyone must be seen to be trying to improve in the batting department. That was a huge difference in the match."

The performance of captain Darren Sammy, who was named Man of the Match after finishing with seven wickets in the game, was another huge positive for Gibson. Sammy's position at the helm had been questioned by those who doubted he was good enough to hold his place in the side but he answered his critics emphatically.

"For Sammy, who was under so much pressure, to perform the way he did was a credit to himself and the way he goes about his work. He's an honest worker and a hard trier," Gibson said. "You could not ask for more. Also for Ravi [Rampaul], who has been in and out, to come back into the team was great to see. He is a pleasure to work with and has a thirst for knowledge.

"Bishoo came in and did a great job with the ball. He's a keen, hungry, young cricketer who just wants to get better and do great things for the West Indies," he added. "He's an asset to have around. When he didn't get any wickets for us in the second innings others stepped up and delivered. That is what team is all about.

"The contribution of the whole team, was great. Everybody worked hard and we all stuck together. We won the first match so that means we can't lose the series, but we don't want to stop there. Winning the series is the goal. It has always been the goal."

Gibson's next target is to try and back up the victory with another strong performance in the second Test in St Kitts which starts on Friday. He admitted that will be difficult, especially for a side that has struggled desperately for consistency, but hopes they can take confidence from the showing in Guyana.

"Long before the Pakistanis arrived we spoke about the belief in the team that we could win the series. We want to win in St Kitts and take the series. Before Sunday's result it was more than two years since we won a Test match and a series. You will have to go back a long time since the West Indies last won back-to-back Test matches.

"The team will feed off this win and we will enjoy it. In international sport you have to enjoy your success, especially in our case where our last victory was more than two years ago."

Comments