West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said the middle session of the first day when Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh bailed India out of a precarious situation had so far been the difference between the two sides.
Gibson said, “That partnership made the difference. We keep putting ourselves in good positions but are not able to capitalise on some occasions. It’s something we discussed during the series against Pakistan too. We have to be a lot tougher in those situations, win them.”
The West Indies coach continued to be optimistic. “We still have a great opportunity to restrict India to anything below 250 or 280. It’s still a great run chase for us. Perhaps, India holds a slight advantage. They have the runs on the board but we have the ability to take wickets.”
Asked about the controversial decision to leave fast bowler Kemar Roach out of the eleven, Gibson said, “Kemar has bowled very well for us. But the selectors wanted Fidel to run in and be aggressive at the Indian batsmen. They believe Fidel has shown more aggression than Kemar. But Kemar is still a very integral part of our cricket. He has bowled with intensity, he has been hostile, and he has taken wickets.”
Queried whether skipper Darren Sammy deserved a place in the eleven, Gibson said, “Our history has been built on fast bowling but we do not have the kind of fast bowlers that we had in the past. Therefore we have to find the right combination.”
He added, “Sammy took wickets in the Pakistan series and he has proved effective at all times. It is becoming a little annoying hearing people talk about Sammy since he keeps taking wickets. I would like him to make more runs but when he gets the ball in his hands, he does a great job for the team. Hopefully, people will focus on things other than Sammy not bowling at 100 miles an hour and notice that he keeps getting wickets most of the time.”
Gibson admitted that the West Indies batting has been a problem area. “We managed to win a Test against Pakistan but we have just not been able to put together big scores. It’s about batsmen going out and having a mindset about batting for long periods.”
On the surface for the Test, Gibson said, “The pitch probably suits India and it’s been a little disappointing seeing such a surface. But there is not much we can do about it. It’s the same for both sides but it seems to me that the surfaces continue to favour the opposition more than us.”
Nobody spoke to me about danger area: Praveen
Debutant Praveen Kumar had a mixed day. He scalped three with outstanding swing bowling but was subsequently banned from bowling in the innings after being warned thrice for running on to the danger area.
Praveen said, “It has never happened to me before. Nobody had spoken to me about this in any of my previous matches. In a way, it is good that this happened to me in my first Test. Now, I can work on it.”
The swing bowler added, “I was focussing on the batsmen rather than on my follow through. I was intense out there. I do not even remember being warned twice earlier.”
Praveen said he did not feel the pressures of making one’s Test debut.
“Honestly, I was enjoying my bowling. I did not feel any stress. I was able to swing the ball both ways. I focussed on bowling in the right areas. I got into a good rhythm after just two overs. In this heat, that was important.” Hindu