Edwards bids for West Indies return
West Indies A captain Kirk Edwards aims to use the tour of India later this month to force his way back into contention for the senior team.
"There's a job to be done [for the team]. I look forward to that," Edwards said. "Personally, I know people harp on my Test stint against England last year but I think I had a good outing with some consistent scores. It was a bit disappointing but I've got over it and I'm looking forward to making some runs and moving back into the senior spotlight."
Edwards, 28, last played for West Indies in May 2012 and has since been searching for consistency in his batting. He seems a viable option in Tests with an average of 39.11 in nine matches but his ODI credentials - a top score of 40* at 19.12 - struggle to match up. His recent form is suspect as well, having played only one game for the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League. However, the selectors have seen him as an A-team mainstay and continued to place faith in his leadership.
With a mooted senior team trip to India before the visit to New Zealand, Edwards was determined to make the most out of this tour. "This is an opportunity to propel you into the senior team," he said. "I need to keep getting scores to get back into Test cricket and I'll be going about things in a professional manner, day-by-day. I've been on tour to India before and I'm familiar with the conditions, so this knowledge counts for a lot."
Edwards believes that his team has the right balance of youth and experience to enjoy a good outing in India. While happy to lead in the four-day matches, he was hopeful being relieved of limited-overs captaincy - with Kieran Powell taking over - will allow him to focus more on his own performances and present himself in better light to the West Indies selectors.
His side completed a successful series against Sri Lanka A in June and Edwards was grateful that the selectors kept the majority of the nucleus intact. West Indies began those unofficial Tests in emphatic fashion, with three of their batsmen recording centuries in the same innings; Edwards, with 190, was the top-scorer. Besides two high-scoring draws, Edwards led his side to a 2-1 victory in the ODI series and secured the T20 series 1-0.
"This unit we have here was formed for a while," he said. "It's positive to stay with this group, let players get comfortable and learn the game from and with each other. Experience counts for a lot and this continuity will help us.
"The pitches and environment [in India] are different to the Caribbean. It's different for spin and the new ball turns from ball one. Some outfields are quick and some pitches have a lack of bounce but we can - and will - capitalise on the good batting tracks. It's a brilliant atmosphere because people love cricket in India, so I hope they come out for the games."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here