By Paul Mitchell
Roseau, Dominica: Jul 11, 2011
West Indies batsman Kirk Edwards used the occasion of his maiden Test hundred to urge long-suffering Caribbean fans to continue giving support to their youthful side.Edwards scored a Test century on debut on Saturday, christening Windsor Park, Test cricket's newest venue, with a composed 110 on the fourth day of the third Test against India.
It is unlikely to halt an Indian victory but it at least gave an indication of the talent that is coming through in the Caribbean as the West Indies attempt to build a side that can stand comparison with the great teams of the 1970s and 1980s."In all fairness to people, they have seen West Indies win, and then it's hard to swallow us losing, so I am not angry with them, I sympathise with them," he said.
"I understand life in a different way, I just think the youngsters (in the team) need support. We won't come on the stage, and ‘boom' get success. We need the support of the people.
"I had a great reception from the crowd in Dominica. It's great here. I was really impressed and happy with the support that we received - and the way the crowd supported us really urged us on."
Edwards became the 13th West Indian to score a hundred on his Test debut, his innings anchoring West Indies to 224 for six in their second innings at the close - an overall lead of just 81.He said he understood the weight of expectation that would follow his innings."I am self-inspired," he said.
"I know what I want to achieve, and I know how I want to get there.There will be obstacles, but I always aim for my goals. I take all the negatives and try to turn them into positives.
"The more people tell me ‘I can't, I can't', the more I try to go out and give my best, and prove them wrong and show I can."The 26-year-old Edwards shared a 161-run, fourth-wicket partnership with veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul, leading a West Indies recovery after the home team were wobbling on 40 for three.
He was cheered by a vocal crowd of over 7,000 fans - including his father and biggest fan Glendon, who made the trip from neighbouring Barbados.
"It is a special feeling to get a Test century on debut for the West Indies, but I would have liked to carry on, and make a bigger score for the team," he said."Test cricket is about fighting, and I see myself as a fighter. We have a lot of fighting characters in the team, and we will continue the fight in this match."
He added: "I'm always prepared mentally. I visualise what I want, and I go after it. I want to be a pillar in West Indies cricket, so all these things drive me to achieve my goals."As a batsman, I bat time. I go about it to bat ball by ball, session by session. When you do that the runs will come. It is a matter of spending time at the crease and building an innings."
Edwards also spoke of the players he admired and those who inspired him as a boy growing up."Watching cricket I used to like to watch Viv Richards," he said.
"I used to love to see Viv Richards on the highlights packages (on television). It was a proud moment for me to go to the Kensington Oval - at the old Kensington Oval - and see Brian Lara and Carl Hooper play.
"I used to think to myself that one day I would like to be out there playing as well, so for me playing for the West Indies is a dream come true."