The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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West Indies have no problems facing spinners: Sarwan

Calcutta: The Indian and West Indies teams had their first taste of the Eden Gardens Monday. While the hosts practised in the late afternoon, the visitors had their session in the morning.

Even as Sourav and Co. seemed in no mood to be complacent after sealing the series in Chennai, Pedro Collins’ injury had the West Indies team management worried ahead of the third Test.

The left-arm pacer, who is suffering fro m a lower back injury, will undergo a fitness test Tuesday morning. “The result of the test will decide his fate,” manager Ricky Skerritt said.

The topic of discussion, however, remained the newly-laid pitch. The general belief is that though it seems firm at first sight, the top layer is bound to give away once the match progresses.

If the indications on the practice pitches are anything to go by, the re-laid square will have low bounce. The wicket’s slowness is bound to cause the Caribbeans much concern.

The West Indies, who are here to “draw some pride and inspiration”, as Ramnaresh Sarwan put it, will have to do some quick thinking if they are to reverse their losing trend. Actually, there seems to be no quick fix solutions to their problems.

Sarwan, however, did not agree that they were facing problems tackling the spinners. “It’s not that we have been unable to figure out the spinners. Most importantly, we have learnt a lot from this tour.”

The right-handed batsman also did not agree that it was only inexperience that has led to the debacle. “It’s not that there has been anything wrong with our preparations. We knew from the beginning that this tour was going to be difficult and, as professionals, we had to adjust to all conditions. We have to mentally stronger to be able to handle the pressure.

“There have been too many negatives on this tour. We’ve been too cautious in our batting but hope to get our act together this time around,” Sarwan added.

“It’s not that the wickets here are much different from the ones we play at home. The bounce is almost the same but, the turn is definitely more here. It’s been a good experience for this young side,” he explained.

The performance of the side may have been below par but Mervyn Dillon is satisfied with his showing in the series. “I’ve been bowling consistently. We cannot put the blame on anyone for our showing here. The bottomline is that we have not been able to click as a team,” the fast bowler said.

Meanwhile, West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul visited the headquarters of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha in the city to seek the blessings of Swami Aksharananda, its president.

Chanderpaul, who had undergone spiritual initiation into the Sangh, back home at Guyana, offered floral tributes to Swami Pranabananda, its founder on Monday.

The left-handed batsman and his wife were presented pictures of Swami Prananbanda, idols of lord Shiva and shawls.

Sodhi at nets

Allrounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi, who has been out of action for quite sometime because of a stress fracture, was present at the team nets Monday. It is quite evident that the national selectors and the team management wanted to have a look at his fitness before the squad for the first set of one-dayers is picked.

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