Sammy calls Windies to be more consistent

West Indies captain Darren Sammy appeals without success for the wicket of Indian batsman Abhinav Mukund. (AFP)

West Indies captain Darren Sammy is confident his team can beat top-ranked India if it becomes more consistent, starting in the second test at Kensington Oval from Tuesday.

West Indies wasted some good openings in the first match in Jamaica of the three-test series, and the visitors eventually ran out winners by 63 runs.

India was tottering at 85-6 on the opening day but recovered to make 246. In the second innings, the visitors recovered from 183-8 to reach 252.

"I would love us to play consistent cricket," Sammy said Monday. "Meaning, once we create the opportunities to be on top, we stay on top. Maybe we get too relaxed, or maybe we haven't got into those positions consistently in the past to be able to put the nail in the coffin. It is something we have been working on, and hopefully, we can put all three disciplines together in this crucial game."

Sammy acknowledged the batting was another main concern, with only three batsmen making half-centuries in three home tests this season and the team not managing to total more than 262 than in six completed innings.

The hosts have brought in renowned psychologist Dr. Rudi Webster to help with the mental preparation ahead of this match.

"Dr. Webster is working on the confidence part with our batsmen, and once we get this right, I think we will be more competitive," Sammy said. "We have been able to bowl teams out twice so far in this home series. So it is about getting the batting the bowling and fielding correct, and once we do this, we will do well."

Sammy also backed head coach Ottis Gibson and his methods, which have drawn criticism from former skipper Chris Gayle among others.

"I think Gibson is what we need at this time in West Indies cricket. He is strong, he is a no-nonsense type of guy; he knows what he is about and he has worked with a successful England team before," Sammy said. "What he brings to the table is professionalism. A hard-work ethic, and it is up to us as players to really adapt to it because if we have been doing the same things for 10 years, and getting the same results, we ought to want to change. So Gibson is just what this team needed."

West Indies made one change to the side that lost in Jamaica, leaving out vice captain Brendan Nash, who has struggled for form in 2011, with Marlon Samuels likely to take his place in the team.

Sammy expects the Kensington Oval surface to be favorable for fast bowlers.

"We expect a typical Barbados pitch. We expect the bounce to be true," he said. "We saw when we were aggressive to the Indians we got results, knowing that the fast bowling is always something that their batsmen find difficult to handle."

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also hinted that the visitors may boost its pace attack due to the nature of the pitch. In Jamaica, new ball pair Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar were the best of the bowlers, sharing 12 wickets in the match.

Dhoni hinted that Munaf Patel could join them in the lineup but backed seasoned offspinner Harbhajan Singh, who was ineffective at Sabina Park in picking up just three wickets.

"He's quite a good character to have, quite an aggressive character," Dhoni said. "When you need a breakthrough, when you need someone to be aggressive on the field, definitely you'll always find Harbhajan being there."

The 30-year-old veteran of 94 tests needs just four wickets to become only the 11th bowler to join the exclusive 400-wicket club.

 

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