After the West Indies claimed their first One-Day International victory for nearly nine months in the second match against Zimbabwe in Guyana, new coach Ottis Gibson is optimistic that his side will continue to improve as the season goes on.
Ahead of the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 on home soil and home series against South Africa, Gibson is hopeful that his side will build on that first win when they complete the ODI series with three games in Kingstown, Saint Vincent.
“We lost the first match of the series and fought back to win the second. I told the players that winning is never easy. They will have to work hard and fight hard for victories," he said.
"We have seen signs that we are improving. If we keep doing that (improving) we should be good in the matches to come. As a team going forward, this series is very important to us, so this week we will be looking to build more momentum, but ultimately the most important things in the coming months will be the ICC T20 World Championship at home and then the Digicel Series against South Africa.”
The West Indian selectors have reacted to the start of the series by recalling all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, along with his half-brother Darren, and Gibson is pleased to have the elder of the two players, in particular, back in his squad.
“It is good to have Dwayne Bravo back in the team. He has only just come back and already you can feel the energy he brings to the team. He is a very important player and already the players have perked up with him around. He brings a lot of energy – he’s an athletic fielder, very skilful bowler and can win a match for you with the bat. He is a three-dimensional cricket – batting, bowling and fielding – and certainly strengthens us as a team.
“I have not seen much of Darren, but I know a lot has been said about him. I threw a few balls to him in the nets and he looks a very good player. As I said before, this series is very important to us and it is important that we give some players an opportunity so we can see what they have in them. This week will be important for him as a player.”
After travelling to Australia with a squad missing a host of regulars, the West Indies are gradually returning to full strength with the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Sulieman Benn returning, as well as Bravo but one player who is still not back is experienced batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Gibson confirmed that the Guyanese players is to be given more time to recover from a back injury.
“Ramnaresh Sarwan is very important to the team. He was with us in Guyana and seeing around was very good. He had a serious injury with his back. At the moment he could benefit from some more time to get fully ready. I don’t want to rush him back too soon. The last thing we want would be to rush him back and lose him for the long-term. It is a pre-caution to allow him to get 100 percent ready for the major international assignments we have later this year.”
The ODI series against Zimbabwe concludes with the final three matches on 10th, 12th, and 14th March.
© Cricket World 2010