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September 1, 2009
West Indies' interim coach David Williams has refused to label the current team as 'second-string' and has backed his players to put in a strong performance in the upcoming Champions Trophy.
The region's top players, including Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, sat out the recent home series against Bangladesh following the contracts dispute between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and were not named in the 14-man squad for the Champions Trophy, to be played in South Africa from September 22 to October 5.
Williams, 45, who replaced John Dyson as coach after the dismal showing in the two Tests and three ODIs against Bangladesh, said while the team lacked experience, they possessed the tenacity to perform well.
"At the end of the day, whoever goes out there to play is representing the West Indies and is a West Indies team," Williams told CMC Sport. "The guys in the team may not be the most experienced but they are willing and have plenty of talent. We intend to work with these players so that they would be competitive in South Africa."
West Indies are in Group A of the Champions Trophy, alongside world champions Australia, world Twenty20 champions Pakistan and India. However, Williams was confident his side could spring a surprise.
"I don't think that people should write us off for the Champions Trophy," he said. "We have a young team and they would be going there to make a name for themselves.
"We have a very good preparation schedule in place with two camps in Barbados and South Africa and once the players get a lot from them, they would be okay for this series. They may even surprise some people and win some big matches."
The new-look squad, similar to the one that took on Bangladesh, will be captained by Floyd Reifer and includes the likes of Darren Sammy, Travis Dowlin and Kemar Roach - the top performers for West Indies during that series.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.