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St John’s—Test captain Denesh Ramdin exuded confidence ahead of his side’s three-match series against England that starts on Monday. Ramdin who was a part of the West Indies squad that beat England at home in 2009 seemed happy with his team’s preparations for the series.
“The last two days have been good, the preparation. Lot of batting, bowling and fielding, trying to get all departments of our game up to scratch. Some of the guys were playing First-Class cricket while some of us came back from the World Cup,” he said. “New coach Phil Simmons is telling us to enjoy whatever we’re doing. So far we’ve been doing good work. The young and senior players have fitted in well which is good.”
The 30-year-old who has represented West Indies in 64 Tests praised the commitment of the younger players in the squad who he felt added a spark into the team’s work ethics.
Ramdin also hopes that the new players will learn a lot from the senior players which in turn will help them to improve their skills. “They come with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They’ve always given a 100 percent so far which is good. A young bunch of guys they are and enjoyable so far,” he added.
“Hopefully they can learn from this even if not selected when they go back to their territories and improve to become better players for their country.”
Apart from the youngsters, Ramdin also relished the presence of evergreen veteran Shiv Chanderpaul who has 161 Test match appearances to his name.
The 40-year-old Chanderpaul who has accumulated 11775 runs at a healthy average of 52.33 needs another 179 runs to become West Indies’ leading run-scorer in Tests surpassing Brian Lara.
“Yeah, his experience is second to none…all those matches that he has played at international level. I am sure that he’ll go on to make the most runs for West Indies in Test matches,” Ramdin said. “I’m sure that’s his goal but at the same time his experience is crucial in the middle order. Whenever he gets a 100 or a 70, the guys who bat with him get partnerships which will help us get a big total that will give us an opportunity to win matches.”
Ramdin reflected on his team’s success against England during the latter’s previous visit in 2009 which was a five-match Test series that ended 1-0 in favor of West Indies.
While savoring the moments of the past, Ramdin of repeating the feat this time around too.
“Last time England were here, we won 1-0 in that series. It was a very hard fought series. Hopefully we can get the things going in this series as well.”
Just like the series in 2009 which produced one result in five matches, Ramdin expects the three-match series also to be a closely fought one. Ramdin admits that the series will be a tough one for the bowlers with the pitches across the Caribbean being considerably flatter and slower which he feels will also test the temperament of batsmen.
Despite the challenges for bowlers, Ramdin backed his bowlers to exploit the familiar home conditions in the series.
“It’s going to be a tough grind. This series is going to be set up by big scores. But I believe that a bit of aggressive bowling where a couple of wickets are taken can change the match for us. It can go either way but hope it is on our side,” he said.
“Jerome Taylor, Kemar Roach, spinners Benn, Bishoo, all these guys have experience bowling in these conditions. Hopefully they can exploit the conditions and do well.”
The 30-year-old felt that the home advantage factor will be an area that West Indies can exploit against an England outfit used to lively swinging pitches.
Ramdin stated that the familiarity in home conditions and pitches will give his bowlers an advantage in what is expected to be a high-scoring series.
“Of course when you go away and play against the opposition, they use their conditions and exploit it quite well.
“So I can’t why our bowlers cannot do it when we’re at home.”
Ramdin has a good record against England in Tests having compiled two of his four centuries against them.
Apart from the two centuries, he also had three half-centuries and his brilliant knock of 166 against England in 2009 still happens to be his highest Test score.
“I have two centuries against the opposition and a couple of half-centuries. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this.”
After the three Tests against England, West Indies are slated to host Australia in June for a two-match Test series.
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