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Windies in a spin

Ezra Stuart in St Kitts

Windies in a spin

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AFTER AILING to the dose of spin from Pakistan in the just ended Digicel Test and One-Day cricket series, the West Indies will be hoping to find the right remedy to survive against a similar prescription from world champions India.
India arrive in the Caribbean next week for a one-off Twenty20 in Trinidad on June 4, followed by a five-match One-Day series and three Tests against the West Indies.
And West Indies coach Ottis Gibson has admitted there was hardly any time for recuperation from Pakistan’s triumvirate of Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammed Hafeez.
India’s spin-based attack will be spearheaded by Harbhajan Turbanator Singh and the likes of leg-spinner Amit Mishra and off-spinner Ravi Ashwin for the limited overs leg. Batsman Yuvraj Singh also showed his worth as a left-arm spinner in the World Cup.     
“It is not a lot of time but we have a lot of players that have played the spin . . . and made runs against spin before,” Gibson acknowledged on Tuesday at the end of the Warner Park second Test which Pakistan won by 196 runs to square the series 1-1.
“People just have to be clear what their game plan is against spin and back themselves and their ability,” he remarked.
“Sometimes, we look very tentative and we sort of lock ourselves in a hole and then our only response is to try to hit ourselves out of the hole. We have to find the balance between attack and defence,” Gibson said.
Gibson said one cure was to rotate the strike by not allowing the spinners to bowl a number of maiden deliveries to the same batsman every over.
“They are setting us up, working us out and getting us out quite easy, so we need to be able to rotate the strike against the spinners a lot more and make sure that the bowlers aren’t bowling too many balls in succession to us,” the coach said.
Captain Darren Sammy also called for the batsmen to find the right treatment for the spinners.
“We as a batting group have to play spin better. Not only in the Test series but in the One-Day series as well they gave our batsmen trouble.
“I know the guys are working hard with the batting coach (Desmond Haynes) in the nets and I can foresee a better performance against India, but it’s all about hard work and putting in what you practise out there in the middle,” Sammy reasoned.
None of the West Indies’ batsmen who played in both Tests against Pakistan averaged more than 30.
Darren Bravo’s 107 runs at an average of 26.75 was the best effort, as Ramnaresh Sarwan (54 runs, 13.50), Lendl Simmons (94 runs, 23.50), Brendan Nash (44 runs, 11.30) and Carlton Baugh (35 runs, 8.75) all struggled.
Openers Devon Smith and Kraigg Brathwaite failed in their only Test while Shivnarine Chanderpaul had scores of 27 and 36 not out and Marlon Samuels, 57 and six in their lone Test.
But Sammy believes the Windies can compete with India.
“The batting definitely has to come to the party where we could bat long and put good totals on the board so the bowlers could have something to work with. It’s a big series and we are all looking forward to it,” he said.