‘Have to try & bat 3 days’

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  • Published 11.11.13

Mumbai: Ottis Gibson is hoping his batsmen doesn’t commit the same mistakes that led to their defeat in the first Test at Eden Gardens. The innings and 51-run defeat was West Indies’ first inside three days during Gibson's tenure.

“There is only so much talking any coach can do,” Gibson said. “When you play five batsmen, and you sit down and stress the importance of those five batsmen, and you set yourself a challenge of batting a day-and-a-half in the first innings, it is then up to those five batsmen to negotiate whatever the opposition bowlers throw at them and hang around for five days.

“(But) When you have a run-out and a couple of soft dismissals within those five batsmen then it puts pressure on everybody else. That is exactly what happened. We have to get better. We have to learn from those mistakes and try not to repeat them.”

The West Indies coach was trying to find ways to arrest the slide during the three-hour net session at the Wankhede on Sunday.

“Try and bat three days,” Gibson said, when asked how the West Indies batting could improve. “We won the toss in good batting conditions and we batted 70-odd overs. That is just not good enough. We know in India you have to bat long, put runs on the board, 400 minimum in the first innings really. So the 234 that we made was pretty average.

“We were little bit rusty coming in but we are not going to use that as an excuse. We still had our opportunities to make scores — we had six or seven guys who got starts and did not carry on. Only one guy got a half-century. When India batted only one or two of those guys got starts and made hundreds. And that was the difference.”

The five-batsman strategy is a recent one and it has worked for the West Indies, felt Gibson.

“When you look at the result you sort of want to think that way (whether the five-batsmen plan works). That line-up is the one with which we have played the last three or four Test matches. We backed those guys and they did not perform as well as they did in the past. It is a two-match series so we have to look at the combination to make sure we still believe strongly that we can win here.”

He didn’t wish to read much into Mohammed Shami’s exploits.

“I do not think spin was that big an issue. As for reverse swing, a new bowler in international cricket, who we did not know much about, bowled with high skills. We can do the same thing. We have Tino Best who can reverse swing at high pace.

“We have a young guy making debut who can also swing it. But we did not execute on the day... Young Shami was very accurate, and he got swinging it late and we would have learned from that match. I do not think the pitch here is going to be that abrasive as the one in Calcutta.

“So I am not sure if reverse swing will play as much of a role as it did in Calcutta. We have had batsmen who have faced reverse swing before and got runs, but they haven’t faced Shami before and that is something we will get used to.”

Gibson was all praise for Shivnarine Chanderpaul who will be playing his 150th Test at the Wankhede.

“Shiv is playing his 150th game and he is also a legend in our dressing room. So we salute and celebrate Sachin, we also salute and celebrate Shiv. It is a wonderful achievement for him to be around for so long and still enjoy his cricket. You see him on the field, you see him in the dressing room, he still enjoys his cricket. We are very proud to have him in our dressing room. And making his 150th appearance for the West Indies.”