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Dr Sammy: A lot on the line for WI, England

By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Tuesday, February 25 2014

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West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director, Dr Allen Sammy, is cautiously optimistic that the regional squad can pull off a much welcomed One-Day International series victory over England when the “WI versus Them” Tour bowls off at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua, on Friday.

Sammy, who is also the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board’s representative to the WICB, admitted that both line-ups will be hoping to bounce back from their shaky form in the 50-Over version of the game. And even though the West Indies (WI) are coming off a four-wicket ODI victory against Ireland on Monday, the English-based outfit is certainly expected to show more resistance.

Prior to their win against the Irish, the WI team drew their previous ODI Series 2-2 against New Zealand (Dec 2013-Jan 2014) and lost against India 1-2 in November. England, meanwhile, are coming off a rough 1-3 ODI series loss at the hands of the Australians, which was preceded by a demoralising 0-5 whitewash from the Aussies in the Tests.

“There will be a lot to play for since both teams seek to regain some composure after recording losses in their recent respective series. Because of recent performances, the West Indies and England will have no choice but to go at each other to regain their momentum in this version of the game,” said Dr Sammy.

He noted, however, that he remains confident in regional coach Ottis Gibson who has been working towards increasing the team’s mental strength. Dr Sammy admitted that such developmental initiatives were ideal for the squad as they enter one of their biggest tests.

“From my point of view, I like what the coach is doing with the team right now. He’s helping and making them work harder. He’s preparing them to be more ready for matches, especially tough encounters like the English. I think he’s rebuilding the team slowly and he’s getting there,” he added.

Meanwhile, the absence of Jamaican big-hitter Chris Gayle from the WI team is expected to be a blow for the hosts but Dr Sammy indicated that this was the precise time for the younger batsmen to step-up to the mantle and make a name for themselves. Bajan all-rounder, Dwayne Smith, is Gayle’s replacement.

“The younger players should use this as a stepping stone. All great players, from since the times of Garry Sobers and around that time, will have to give way for the upcoming players. I know that Gayle is injured but this presents opportunities for the others to take the helm and fill the gauge,” Dr Sammy continued.

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