Chanderpaul may return, we are focussed on Pakistan spinners: Sammy

By Sirshendu Panth, IANS,

Dhaka : Up against an in-form Pakistan in Wednesday’s World Cup quarterfinal, West Indies skipper Darren Sammy has indicated that stylish batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was likely to return to the team and asked his boys to ensure they grabbed their opportunities in the match.

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Sammy also told the media Tuesday that the team was paying attention to tackling Pakistani spinners on the low and slow Sher-e-Bangla Stadium track here.

To a query about Chanderpaul, who was dropped from the team in the last two games due to his lacklustre form, the West Indies captain said: “In spite of not being in the team he has a big role to play. It’s the quarterfinal now and most likely we will see him feature in tomorrow’s game. We will put the best possible 11.”

With their batting having crumbled like cookies in the group matches against England and India, Sammy said his side could not afford to lose wickets in patches, the way they did in the two games.

“We just crumbled. We lost our way. We have to do away with it and very quickly. We can’t keep losing wickets in patches like that. It affects the outcome of the match,” Sammy said on the eve of the last-eight tie.

“But having said that, we keep finding ourselves in positions where we can win matches. I think in the quarterfinal stage we must grab on top the opportunity we get,” he said.

Against England last Thursday, needing 22 runs from 53 balls for victory, West Indies lost their last four wickets adding only three runs to finish with a 18-run deficit. Again, opposite India two days back, after a sound start, the West Indies batting crumbled like cookies, with the last eight wickets falling within a space of 34 runs.

Sammy said the West Indies batsmen needed to improve their performance by building on good starts. “It’s upto our batters to go out there and put in a good performance and whoever gets a start should carry on. Definitely if we want to win we have to put up a much better batting display.”

Asked how they planned to tackle Pakistan’s spin attack spearheaded by skipper Shahid Afridi – the tournament’s leading wicket-taker now with 17 victims – Sammy said: “Definitely we will pay attention to that.”

“They have an off-spinner (Mohammad Hafeez) and a left-arm spinner (Abdur Rehman) and we watched them play. So we know what we will be facing.”

Dashing batsman Chris Gayle and pacer Kemar Roach were at the nets Tuesday and Sammy said he liked the way they shaped up but the outcome will be known before the match Wednesday.

“I know we will be able to come out with the best combination to win us the quarterfinal. Tomorrow we will know the outcome.

“I know Chris is a very committed fellow and he will do whatever it takes to be in a position to win. So come tomorrow I have no doubt he will do the best thing required to be in the team,” Sammy said.

Gayle and the Caribbean side’s most successful bowler Roach sat out the team’s last group game against co-hosts India due to minor fitness problems.

Gayle was down with a slight recurrence of the abdominal injury that had forced him out of an earlier match against Ireland. Roach had mild fever, and both were rested by the management as the Windies were already through to the last eight.

On left arm spinner Sulieman Benn’s lacklustre show in the previous two games, Sammy said: “Benn knows his role. He was told earlier that he would be given the new ball and he’s done well. The last two matches did not go very well but I know Suleiman Benn is a great fighter and so I am not worried about his form. I know given the opportunity he will come on top.”

Sammy said the wicket was hard with a bit of grass. “Looks like a good cricket wicket,” he added.

The West Indies captain said his team was happy and high on confidence to return to this Bangladesh capital where they had shot out the home team for 58 runs in a group game.

“This is the ground where we had executed our plans perfectly. The guys know that and would be high in confidence when they go out tomorrow,” he said.