Delhi, India – West Indies Team Manager Richie Richardson is full of confidence that the team will do very well at the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. The former West Indies captain and legendary batsman has thrown his full backing behind the side and noted that the preparations have been going very well.
"I’m really impressed by what I’m seeing from the players. I only joined the team a few weeks ago, and I’m delighted with the level of commitment and drive I am seeing. There is a lot of attention to detail and these are very good signs. I have confidence in the team, based on what I have been seeing, and I believe we are going to surprise quite a few people," Richardson said.
The Windies arrived in Delhi on Thursday night and had three full training sessions on Friday morning, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning at the Air Services Ground at Palam.
Richardson made special mention of the West Indies batsmen and said he expects the experienced trio of Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shiv Chanderpaul to deliver. He also gave his fully backing to captain Darren Sammy, who has been impressive in the leadership role.
"Chris is one of the most destructive batsmen in the world and once he gets it together we can expect to build totals. He knows his game inside out and is ready for this challenge.
"Sarwan has tremendous experience at this level of the game and has been playing extremely well from the time we started this tour.
"Chanderpaul has been reliable for West Indies for close to 20 years in all forms of the game. He has never let down West Indies.
"Sammy has been doing a good job with the team. He has the support of everyone and you can see he is learning and getting better. I speak to him alot and offer him the benefit of my experience. He knows what is required and he knows what he’s about."
The last time the Cricket World Cup was played in Asia was back in 1996 when Richardson was West Indies captain. They reached the semi-finals but lost a close contest to Australia. That was Richardson’s last match in Windies colours. He was an outstanding attacking middle-order batsman and played 86 Tests and 224 One-Day Internationals in an international career which spanned 13 years.
"I am excited that I have been given the opportunity by the West Indies Cricket Board to be the manager of the West Indies team and to play a role in the further development of the West Indies cricket. I am delighted to be with the team and to help as much as possible. As a West Indian and someone who played at the highest level I am happy to contribute," Richardson said.
"This is the Cricket World Cup, the biggest cricket event in the world, and probably will be the biggest cricket event of all-time. The Cricket World Cup remains the most important event on the cricket calendar and 50 Over cricket is still an important format of the game and we have to continue to support it. In this World Cup every match will be important in this tournament. Everything will matter," Richardson added.
The West Indies have been drawn in Group B alongside Bangladesh, India, England, South Africa, the Netherlands and Ireland.
They will play their first match against South Africa against South Africa at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Thursday, February 24. They then face the Netherlands (February 28, Delhi), Bangladesh (March 4, Dhaka), Ireland (March 11, Mohali), England (March 17, Chennai), and India (March 20, Chennai).