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Mohammad Isam in Mirpur
March 24, 2014
When two opposition players speak openly about your weakness, a reply is awaited. When asked if his players are too reliant on boundaries and place a low emphasis on singles and twos, West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said he took pride in having big hitters in the team.
Before the India-West Indies game, Suresh Raina had said that India would look to cut out fours and sixes, because West Indies don't like rotating the strike. On Sunday evening, India bowled plenty of dot balls, cut out the boundaries and restricted West Indies to a modest score.
Now Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has echoed Raina's words. In four T20s against Bangladesh so far, West Indies have averaged eleven fours and eight sixes a match. That sixes count is higher than their overall average of just over five per match.
Gibson responded by saying there was nothing wrong with West Indies' method, and they had done well basing their strategy around boundaries, even if India had taken advantage of intelligence gathered on his team's players during the IPL.
"We are blessed with players who can hit the ball to the stands," Gibson said. "I am sure people will look at [Chris] Gayle to hit the ball to the stands rather than take a quick single and pull a hamstring. If you look back at the game, most of our best players are in the IPL and I think they [India] know them quite well, and a lot of the plans from last night seem to come out of IPL. Bangladesh are different and we look forward to it. We have to focus on winning, to survive in the tournament.
"People will make assumptions based on what happened last night. India bowled well. We didn't get singles but we don't normally get singles. That's the way it goes sometimes."
Gibson believes that talk of taking more singles wouldn't necessarily mean his team would start doing that. He wants the batsmen to be more aware of the situation they are playing in, and then find ways to find the boundaries.
"You can't change much technically but it is in the mindset," he said. "We have to be aware of what the opposition is trying to do. We need to adjust mindset to counteract that. We can't just start taking singles, but take those that are there. I wouldn't want them to be run out, like Gayle did last night. He would have got 30-40 extra runs."
Against India, West Indies didn't include the experienced Ravi Rampaul, and went with the in-form left-armer Krishmar Santokie instead. With India discovering plenty of swing under the lights, Gibson said it would be a factor in their selection against Bangladesh, in what will be another night game.
"The ball swung more at night, as the Indian bowlers showed," he said. "We have to look at it when we form the eleven. Rampaul and [Sheldon] Cottrell are in our side, both are excellent so we will see how the team shapes up.
"I thought he [Santokie] bowled okay. Defending 130 was never going to be easy against the Indian batting line-up. He will get more and more comfortable in the tournament. He was probably a bit nervous, and he will work to improve."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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