By Philem Dipak Singh
New Delhi: Nov 5, 2011
West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his young and inexperienced side faces its toughest challenge so far when it takes on India in a three-Test series starting on Sunday, but the visitors are not at all intimidated.
"It will be the biggest challenge for the players and for me as captain. India are such a prestigious side with great players. Cricket is religion here. It will be the toughest test for us," Sammy said at the pre-match press conference ahead of the first Test here tomorrow.
"We cannot be fearful, we have to perform our best. We have to be hungry to do well and give our best," he said.
Only four players -- Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Denesh Ramdin and Marlon Samuels -- have played more than 20 matches while most of their Indian counterparts are veterans of many Tests.
Sammy, who himself has played just 18 Tests so far, knew the hype surrounding Sachin Tendulkar's impending 100th international ton but said his side would try to make life difficult for the Indian cricket icon.
"Sachin is a great player. But we don't want to play on names. We will execute our plans against him. As much as we admire Sachin as a great player, we will try to make life difficult for him," he said.
He said the good show in Bangladesh, where the West Indies won a two-match Test series 1-0, has also boosted the team's confidence and they have a measure of sub-continental conditions.
"We had done well in the home Test series against India and then we have come from Bangladesh after a successful tour. So we are not totally unprepared. We are not new to the conditions here," said the 27-year-old all-rounder.
Sammy praised leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo for his good performance recently for West Indies and said he expects the youngster to do well in the series.
"He is the ICC Emerging Player of the Year and he has been in good form after his inception in Test cricket. You want your main spinner to win matches for you in such conditions," he said.
"He is learning a lot since he made his debut and he is a quick learner," he added.
Obviously, the West Indies are no longer the potent force of yesteryears in the pace department but Sammy said his bowlers are improving.
"It's a fact that we are no longer fearsome in fast bowling but we are improving. After Ottis Gibson became coach, we are improving in the pace department also," he said.
Asked about his experience as captain of the team, Sammy said, "I am learning everyday. In cricket as in other walks of life one learns each day and I m doing that. I think I am improving in decision-making as captain," he said.
He said the much-criticised Feroz Shah Kotla pitch looked good with runs on it.
"Some grass there I think but it looks like a good pitch, runs to be scored," he said. (PTI)