(Barbados Nation) THE POST Darren Sammy era in Test cricket should be one of excellence with the West Indies changing their team strategy by fielding more wicket-taking bowlers.
That’s the view of head coach Ottis Gibson, who made it clear yesterday during a Press briefing in the lunch break of a practice match at the 3Ws Oval against a Barbados Select XI that winning Test matches would be the main objective of the Denesh Ramdin-led regional outfit.
“The new direction is one of excellence [and] trying to win Test matches…We look at where we are right now as a team and where we need to go to and perhaps a change in more wicket-taking bowlers,” Gibson said.
He said the composition of the West Indies team to face New Zealand in the first Test starting on June 8 at Sabina Park in Jamaica of the upcoming three-match series is likely to see six specialist batsmen, four wicket-taking bowlers, along with captain and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
“That is where we need to go to. We need to win Test matches and we need to pick teams that are going to try and win consistently. Ramdin, being a new captain, is the person to do that. He has the full support of all the players and certainly me and all the support staff. Ultimately, we are in the business of performing and winning is our cause,” Gibson said.
Gibson reminded that even though New Zealand defeated the Windies 2-0 late last year on home soil, the regional cricketers had also beaten the Black Caps 2-0 when they last played in the Caribbean.
“Now is our opportunity to show what happened in New Zealand was a blip. They are a resurgent sort of team and we have to give them the respect they deserve [but] they have always been a very good opposition in New Zealand,” Gibson said.
“We just have to make sure that we put in the level of performance that we know we need to put in to beat them.
It is not going to be easy but playing at home will always give us confidence with the fans behind us to go out and do really well and win the series,” he added.
In going after the objective of winning and dismissing the opposition twice, the West Indies have brought on board fast bowling great Sir Curtly Ambrose as a bowling mentor.
“Ambi is heavily involved in cricket here at the University [with the Combined Campuses & Colleges] and making a contribution to West Indies cricket in that way so the feeling is to get him to come in and mentor the good bowlers that we have and try to see if he can inspire them through his experiences to turn themselves into great bowlers,” Gibson said.
“We need bowlers that would take 20 wickets to win a Test match. He’s obviously led the West Indies bowling attack and done it very well over his career, so hopefully he will impart some knowledge and pass on some of his experiences onto the guys.”
After recent below-par performances from the batsmen, Gibson said he also invited the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers, the former West Indies captain and outstanding all-rounder, to come and look and have a chat with the batsmen during the pre-series camp.
“He is still an avid watcher of the game, so he sees a lot of things. Hearing it from me and hearing it from Sir Garry Sobers is a completely different thing. He is here for the next three days to pass on his knowledge over so many years of doing it,” Gibson said.
“The guys like Darren Bravo and young [Kieran] Powell have been very receptive and his wisdom will not be lost on the experience guys like Shiv [Chanderpaul] and Marlon [Samuels] neither. All the guys will get the opportunity to speak to Sir Garry about their game, which can only be a good thing for us,” Gibson noted.
“Hopefully, over the next couple of the days, the guys will really use him as a springboard for where they are in their game and what he thinks they need to do to take their game to the next level.
“I think when you look at the batting at the moment, if everybody moves their averages up five per cent it means that the batting is improving and we are putting more runs on the board than we are at the moment,” added Gibson.