Sammy believes batting holds key to series

NORTHAMPTON, England – West Indies captain Darren Sammy said he hoped his team could begin the turnaround in their batting fortunes on the tour of England.


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Sammy was speaking on the eve of the four-day, tour match against England Lions (England A-Team), starting on Thursday at Wantage Road.

He said the bowling was the strength of the team, but the batting will be the key to the visitors remaining competitive in the upcoming three-Test series against World No.1 England, and the next four days would be spent trying to gain that edge.

"I think for the last year or so, we have shown we are quite capable of taking 20 wickets – and in flat conditions," he said. "So I think putting runs on the board will be our biggest challenge.

"But who knows, we could come out there and do it. Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been very helpful with the young batsmen, teaching them how to play in these conditions. Hopefully, things can fall into place and we can have a competitive series here in England."

Unstable weather has dogged West Indies since their arrival in England last week and they were restricted to another indoor session on Wednesday.

Sammy admitted that it could be frustrating sitting, watching the weather, but the team has always found ways to make use of such interruptions.

"What this team has been able to do over the last few seasons is to handle our distractions well," he said. "I remember when we were in Sri Lanka two years ago and it rained consistently. We made use of the indoor facilities, the guys got into the habit of hitting a lot of balls, played dominoes, had more team meetings, and looked at more video footage.

"Coach [Ottis] Gibson is very innovative and he always finds something for us to do. It just means we will get more time to bond as a team. It is disappointing because our main purpose for being here is to play cricket, get out on the park, but we have no control over the weather, so we will move on with things."

Sammy will be one of several players to grace Lord’s for the first time in a Test, when West Indies face England in the first Test at the famous ground, starting on May 17.

Only Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards and Denesh Ramdin have played a Test at the ground previously, although Sammy and several others have made appearances in other ways in the past.

"I think it will be very special," he said. "After being a member of the MCC Young Cricketers’ staff, coming to England as a teenager, being there, a place where every cricketer dreams of being, using the facilities there, and now I am going to be leading a West Indies team in a Test. . .

"I have replayed so many moments in my head, but it would not only be special for me – most of our guys have not played a Test here, so it will be quite special occasion for us as a team."