Experience crucial for WI to beat England – Ramdin
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC):
Captain Denesh Ramdin believes the experience of veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul and the senior bowlers will be critical if West Indies are to seriously challenge England in the upcoming three-Test series.
The Windies face their old foes starting here Monday, attempting to reverse a trend that has seen them win just two Tests in 27 outings over the last 15 years.
Ramdin said Chanderpaul's penchant for long innings in the middle order would be important in West Indies tallying big scores.
"His experience is second to none (especially with) all those matches he has played at international level," the Trinidadian said.
"I'm sure he will go on to get the most runs for West Indies as a Test player and I'm sure that's his goal, but with his experience in the middle order, batting all those balls, getting his hundred, 70s or whatever, (we need) guys to bat with him to get partnerships and get big totals so we have opportunities to win matches.
"The last time England were here we won 1-0 in that series. It was a very hard-fought series. Hopefully, we can get good things going in this series again."
After dominating England in the 1980s and early 1990s, West Indies have struggled in recent years. They have suffered 17 defeats since the turn of the century and have lost all but one series - in 2009 when a shock innings win at Sabina Park handed them success in the five-match series.
Tough task ahead
Ramdin said he is under no illusions about the size of the task, however, but believes that new ball bowlers like Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach, along with frontline spinner Sulieman Benn, would be crucial in limiting England's batting machine, especially in Caribbean conditions.
"It is going to be a tough grind. The series is going to be set up by big scores and that hour, hour-and-a-half of aggressive bowling where you can pick up a couple wickets and a bowler can change a match for us so it can go either way, but, hopefully, it can be on our side," Ramdin noted.
"When you go away and play against the opposition, they put you in their conditions and exploit it quite well, so I can't see why our bowlers can't do it at home."
Ramdin has also placed pressure on himself to perform. He averages 33 against the English and has hit two hundreds - including a career-best 166 at Kensington Oval during the 2009 series. However, he struggled last year, averaging just under 23 from eight Tests.
"I have two centuries and a couple half centuries against the opposition, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into their bowling attack," Ramdin said.
"They have a good bowling attack, you can't take that away from them, but you just need to spend time out there. As a batter, once you spend time out there it becomes easier."