<
>

'I don't bowl to hit people, I bowl to get wickets'

Fidel Edwards is an expert at making great first impressions. Brian Lara faced him in the nets and was so excited that Edwards was suddenly a Test bowler, taking 5 for 36 on debut against Sri Lanka in 2003. Five-wicket hauls followed in his maiden ODI, when his 6 for 22 were the best figures by any debutant, and his opening overseas Test. Injuries have disrupted his career and he missed the Sri Lanka tour because of the sponsorship crisis, but he is fit and confident for the Australia series. He tells Cricinfo about his early success and what it's like living with the tag of "West Indian fast bowler".

Was it difficult to cope with doing well so soon in your career?
It was kinda hard. Everyone was expecting things so early. There was a lot to learn and I'm still learning every day.

You missed the tour game against Queensland last weekend. Why was that?
Just to get more practice in the nets. We've been doing a lot of work, especially with our fitness trainer. I'm looking forward to playing on Thursday - I didn't come all this way to sit on the bench. If I get a chance, I'll give it my best shot.

How exciting is a tour of Australia for a West Indian?
It's pretty exciting because Australia are the best team in the world and have the biggest players like Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath and those guys. I've watched them quite a lot on television. Playing against them is a dream come true.

Do you have favourite Australian bowlers or are all your heroes West Indian?
I like Jeff Thomson, and McGrath is one of the best bowlers I've seen. The best for me were Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. I haven't tried to model myself on anyone, I have my own action and that suits me.

What's your theory on bowling fast?
I try to get the ball in the right areas more often than not. The more you do, the more wickets you get. I try to keep the ball up to the bat and I usually get the ball to outswing, so I get wickets like that.

West Indies attacks in the past have been tall and fast but this one is much shorter.
You can't have it always tall and fast. Some people are tall and slow. We have a lot of fast bowlers in our team. I don't really look at the speed but I know I get it over 90mph. I like bowling fast.

What about hitting batsmen, does that excite you?
That's quite a good job too. But I don't bowl to hit people, I bowl to get wickets.

Is it hard being a West Indian fast bowler when there have been so many great ones?
It's kinda hard because people expect too much too early. All the great bowlers are gone and it's kinda hard to fill that gap so quickly. I'm confident the gap will be filled. We've got a lot of guys who are learning pretty quickly.

Are you now comfortable as international bowler, and did you always want to be a cricketer?
Yes, it's OK with me. My first love is football. When I get the chance, I play football for fitness.

In 17 Tests, you have 45 wickets at an average of 44.02. Are you happy with the way things have gone?
Not really. My injuries have kept me back a bit and I think I should have a lot more wickets than I do on paper. But I've just got to get everything right and get it flowing. It would be good if it happens, especially this series.

What do you expect from Australia?
They are going to come at you hard, so it should be good for me. I watched a couple of games in the England series and they are good batters, but I've just got to keep the ball in the right areas to get them out.

What do you hope to get out of the series?
I'm hoping for a series win, that would be nice, and everyone is confident. There's been a lot of talk in the media about us going to get beaten three-love. When it's coming from the West Indies, it's kind of heartbreaking. I'd like to show them what we have. We've been training hard, it's time to show it in the middle.