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Gibson: Crowds will come back

Ezra Stuart

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CAPACITY CROWDS will come back to watch the Caribbean cricketers.That assurance has come from West Indies’ coach Ottis Gibson but he says the Chris Gayle-led outfit must show more fight and be more competitive for this to happen.The first two Tests of the Digicel home series against South Africa attracted a sprinkling of spectators in Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts, while fewer than 500 fans watched the second day’s play of the ongoing Kensington Oval Test after about 1 000 came on the opening day.Such a paucity in numbers are unusual for a Saturday or Sunday in Barbados where the fans have witnessed 21 West Indian victories, eight losses and 16 draws in the previous 45 Tests at “The Mecca”.“I just think it is a reflection of the cricket that we are playing. West Indies’ crowds over the years were brought up on fantastic cricket, and fantastic cricketers playing good cricket winning,” Gibson said.“Obviously, everybody wants to see teams winning. We are not in a position to win at present and I supposed that’s the reason the crowd has been so poor,” he added.“Here in Barbados, you have Crop-Over and all that stuff going on as well, so people have options other than to come and sit and watch the cricket,” he noted.“(But) I still believe and that’s the reason why I’m here, that we will turn things around and we will get the crowds back in the stands,” he contended.Gibson, who left the post of England’s bowling coach to take up his new job, pointed out that during the One-Day series against South Africa and the preceding one versus Zimbabwe, the fans were out in their numbers.“We’ve seen it in the One-Day series when we won or when we played well, that the next day, there are some people in the crowd. In Guyana and in Dominica, the stands were full,” he said.“But I believe we have to draw the crowds back by the way we perform on the field, by the way we carry ourselves around the ground and the way we go out and fight.“The crowds (want to) see us fighting and trying to move from the position that we are in at the moment where we are languishing somewhere down in the bottom of the ICC rankings,” Gibson said.“If the crowd can see us fighting, I’m sure that the crowds will still want to come and get behind us again,” he added.To this end, Gibson bemoaned the lack of consistency in the batting and chided the batsmen for their shot selection, which led to the Windies being dismissed for 231, only a few days after making 546 in St Kitts.