Reifer banking on WI bowlers for World Cup success
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Newly named West Indies head coach Floyd Reifer believes if the West Indies are to win the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in England, a lot will depend on the performances of those ‘X factors’ and the bowling department.
Speaking at the end of the Windies’ training camp at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Reifer said that the regional squad probably contained the largest number of game changers out of all of the teams competing at the World Cup.
Even though he acknowledged that the pitches in England are good for batters, he said he would be depending heavily on his bowlers to lead the charge.
The West Indies have not won the World Cup in 40 years. The last time they lifted the coveted crown was back in 1979 when Clive Lloyd was captain.
“Looking at the pitches in England, and when you see the scores in the county circuit, they are very high scoring, so we expect the World Cup is going to be a high-scoring one, but I think that we will win the World Cup on bowling.
“The team that bowls the best and fields the best will win the World Cup because the pitches are good for batting, and the batters are expected to score runs, but I think bowling is going to win it for us,” Reifer, a former West Indies captain, said.
Additionally, he said that a very strong 15-man West Indies squad had been named with a perfect blend of experience and youth.
BLEND OF EXPERIENCE
“I think the team is a really, really, good team. It is a blend of experience and youth, and I believe that in our history, we blend experience with youth very well, and it goes a long way in terms of continuity and junior players learning from senior players.
“We have a lot of X factors in the side. Compared to all of the sides at the World Cup, our side has those guys who can go out there on any given day and at any given time and turn the game around, so all in all, I think it is a very good team. The camaraderie is there, and the guys are working hard at the camp,” Reifer said.
The West Indies will head off to take part in a Tri-Nations Series against hosts Ireland and Bangladesh from May 5 to 17 before turning their focus to the World Cup, which bowls off on May 30.
Reifer said that the just-concluded training camp went exceptionally well in preparing the team for the challenges ahead.
“I thought the training camp was very good. The guys did a lot of work, and we worked on a lot of specifics. We worked a lot on bowling plans, and we did a lot of work in relation to depth bowling, and we did a lot of fielding. All in all, the energy levels were very high, and I really thought the guys put in a big effort,” he said.
While Reifer admitted that expectations for the side were high, he said his previous coaching roles that prepared him for the tasks at hand.
“Expectations are very high, but I’ve been handling it very well. I’m fully prepared. The 12 years at The University [of the West Indies] have prepared me really well for this occasion, so I’m ready,” Reifer said.