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Don’t take Windies lightly: Viv Richards

Bangalore: West Indies chairman of selectors Vivian Richards has warned India to watch out for some of their young players in the three-Test series starting in Bombay next week.

The West Indies squad landed in India Tuesday without Brian Lara, down with suspected hepatitis, but Richards said he was confident the team would put his loss behind them.

“We’ve got a good young bunch,” Richards, a former West Indies captain, said Wednesday.

“I’ve been reading comments about Lara not being here but all I can say is we have a bunch of talented individuals here.”

The West Indies beat India 2-1 in a five-Test series in the Caribbean earlier this year despite the lack of any serious contribution by Lara.

But on turning Indian tracks the home side start firm favourites mainly due to a batting line-up boasting Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, captain Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, as well as spinners Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble.

“I believe there is a renewed spirit of vigour in this West Indies team,” Richards said. “It is always very difficult to beat India in India but we’ve got to be confident about it. Who knows, at the end of the tour the heroes could be Ramnaresh Sarwan or Marlon Samuels.”

Guyanese Sarwan, hailed as one of the team’s most promising batsmen, is chasing an elusive century after scoring 13 fifties in 24 Tests.

Meanwhile, Richards was all praise for the Indian performance in Colombo. “It’s a pity that the rain interrupted the finals. India at that time were a better team.”

Dillon confident

On the other hand, frontline Caribbean seamer Mervyn Dillon feels he will have his task cut out in India. “Playing Test matches and one-dayers in India are probably the toughest assignments for a cricketer. But I am looking forward to it,” he said.

But a confident Dillon hastened to add, “India are one of the best batting line-ups in the world but it takes only one ball to get a batsman out. And if you can stick to your basics, you can be successful.”

Dillon grabbed 23 wickets against India in the series earlier this year which was being hailed in the Caribbean as a turning point for a struggling West Indies team.

“We have Pedro Collins, who did very well against New Zealand. We’ve also got young pacers such as Jermaine Lawson and Darren Powell. We are an upbeat bunch of guys,” Dillon said.

He also added that they have recovered from the disappointment of the ICC Champions Trophy. “We are professionals. We have moved on,” he said.

The paceman informed he has learnt a few tips (regarding bowling in India) from former cricketers.

The West Indies, led by Carl Hooper, start their tour on Friday with a three-day game against a Board President’s XI team.

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