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February 20, 2009
Daren Powell was one of West Indies' unexpected batting heroes as they clung on for a draw in the third Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground. However, even in the afterglow of surviving 55 balls, and batting out 10 overs alongside Fidel Edwards, Powell knows he is under pressure to perform with the ball.
His Test average is 46.34 after 35 matches and with a current series tally of four wickets at 48.75, he is not pulling his weight in the pace attack. There was criticism before the series that the selectors continued to show faith despite limited returns, but in a very honest assessment Powell revealed his own concerns about his main role.
"I am pretty concerned about my bowling. If I was another player looking in and seeing someone in my shoes, not picking up wickets like Jerome Taylor and Fidel [Edwards], I would feel bad not to be playing. I have a bit of a problem with the way I grip the ball, I am working on it, it's getting better, my control is getting better.
"Hopefully in Barbados I can keep on working, trying to get more consistent and pick up wickets. I have to go out there, put all that is being said behind me and back myself. I've said we are going to beat England 3-0 and for us to do that I have to be taking wickets. The guys give me the confidence."
Despite his own problems with the ball, Powell certainly didn't hold back in his assessment of where the momentum lay after the thrilling finish. "It's a bigger wound they [England] have now because looking at the position, if I was the fielding side, I would think I would win the game, especially with me and Fidel there batting. England will feel bad now."
The West Indies team have broken up for a few days between Tests, but it is unlikely that Powell's place will be under threat in Barbados although Lionel Baker, the Montserrat pace bowler, has been part of the squad. There are not many other fast bowlers pushing for selection with the domestic four-day averages dominated by spinners.
An area the home side may consider tweaking, though, is the batting line-up. Ryan Hinds didn't grab his opportunity on recall with 27 and 6 in Antigua and Lendl Simmons is waiting in the wings. Devon Smith could also be under pressure after a horrid swipe in the first innings against Graeme Swann brought his downfall.
One batsman who has no concerns over his form is Ramnaresh Sarwan, who completed a match double of 94 and 106 to go alongside his 107 from the first Test. However, he said it was important West Indies make the most of their escape when the series resumes in Barbados next week.
"There's two to go and we don't want to look too far ahead," he said. "We have to get mentally and physically ready because this game took a lot out of us. Important we don't find ourselves in the same situation because if we do it will be hard to get out of it."
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