West Indies coach happy with team's performance

West Indies cricket Coach Ottis Gibson catches a ball during a practice session at the R.Peremadasa Stadium in Colombo. Gibson believes there are signs of life inside Caribbean cricket despite a shattering loss to England which could spell the end of their World Cup campaign

By Julian Guyer

Chennai: Mar 18, 2011

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson believes there are signs of life inside Caribbean cricket despite a shattering loss to England which could spell the end of their World Cup campaign. Thursday’s 18-run defeat handed England a lifeline and the West Indies a possible must-win assignment against hosts India on Sunday.

Victory would have assured the West Indies of a quarter-final spot and they were on the brink at 222 for six chasing 244 to win after a stand of 72 between Ramnaresh Sarwan (31) and all-rounder Andre Russell (49) revived the innings. But they lost their final four wickets for just three runs to finish on 225 all out.

“We were in a great position but what it needed at the end was someone to see us through, see us home and that didn’t happen,” said Gibson, who was England’s bowling coach for more than two years.

He said he was heartened by the way young fast bowler Russell, who also took four for 49, and leg-spinner Davendra Bishoo (three for 34 on one-day international debut) performed. And he defended the decision to drop Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whose experience might have seen the West Indies home.

He was axed to allow fit-again opener Chris Gayle, who blasted a typically rapid 43 off 21 balls, to return at the top of the innings. “I don’t want to really answer any questions about Shiv. Whether he would have made a difference we’ll never know. You saw the emergence of young Davendra Bishoo, another little gem we’ve known about for a while. He came here and did a great job for us with his leg-spinners. (Fast bowler) Kemar Roach did great, all those guys are under 25.”

“We are starting to show the resilience we are going to need to beat teams like England and India on Sunday and the big boys.” West Indies will be into the last eight if South Africa beat Bangladesh on Saturday, even if they lose their final Group B match against co-hosts India when they return to the Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.

Should the Tigers pull off an upset win, West Indies would still go through to the knockout stages if they beat India. Gibson said he’d seen enough against England to make him believe a longed-for victory over a major nation was on the way.

“Any defeat is disappointing but there was a time not so long ago we would have capitulated,” he said. “Usually, when Chris gets out, there was a time when things would have fallen down. You saw a great performance from Andre Russell in only his second international game, bowling very well and making a good 49, putting on a good partnership with Sarwan.”

Looking ahead to the weekend, Gibson said: “We’ve still got Sunday to think about. We can’t worry too much about what’s going to happen in Bangladesh. If South Africa wins, it takes a little bit of the pressure off.

“We haven’t beaten a top team in 20 months and we would like to do that. We had another opportunity today and didn’t take it but we are getting closer.”