Roseau (Dominica): He became the 13th West Indian to score a century on debut but young Kirk Edwards said he had mixed feelings as his team is still not out of danger in the third and final cricket Test here.
"I have mixed feelings. We are still not safe, we are still kind of behind the eight ball and struggling," said Edwards, who scored a composed 110-run knock at Windsor Park yesterday to help West Indies recover from early slump in their second innings.
The West Indies, however, were 224 for six on the fourth day, leading the visitors by a mere 81 runs but the debutante said they will make a game out of it.
"Indeed, we were behind from the start. It rained on first day and we didn`t put up a good total. But we will try and make a game out of it."
The 26-year-old Edwards, who shared a 161-run stand with senior batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul (73 not out), said he was a self-motivated person.
"It`s good to bat with an experienced guy like Shiv but I am self-inspired. I am driven by my desire to be a pillar of the West Indies cricket," he said.
"In my younger days I saw a bit of Viv (Richards). To be honest, I never saw Viv play a live ball. I only watched the highlights package. But I saw Lara and Hooper.”
"I am motivated ... when you go to supermarket, people tell you can`t play, you can`t do this, you can`t do that. I just see how I can. People should keep telling me I can`t. I don`t get angry with people.”
"In all fairness, people grew up seeing West Indies playing great cricket, winning. So it`s kind of hard to swallow this. I sympathize with them. But youngsters need support. You are not going to just come and go boom," he added.
Edwards said getting to his maiden century and having his father watch it from the stands was a great feeling for him even though he almost threw it away with a near run-out on 99.
"That was a terrible thing. I didn`t think about it. I played to mid-off and thought to myself I was quick enough to get there but I didn`t think about shiv. Things though have worked out well and I`m happy," he said.
His century was greeted with warm appreciation by the Indians on the field and Edwards has only good things to say about the visitors, including the batting tips he got from VVS Laxman on the first day.
"VVS is a brilliant player. If I had half the ability that VVS has, it will be a good thing. I had a brilliant chat with him the other night. He didn`t say anything that I haven`t heard before but hearing it from him was special," he said.
"As for the Indians being generous in applause, West Indies and Indians go along well. We have a good relationship."
Edwards has been a fan of India`s batting and bowling but he said watching the visitors field in this series has been a revelation.
"I admire the team. I have seen them come along. They always had top batsmen and bowlers. They have also become a fielding team."
Edwards was very positive in dealing with the guile of Harbhajan Singh though he admitted he wasn`t very good in dealing with bouncers from Indian pacemen.
"I use my feet based on the delivery, whether it`s Harbhajan or whoever. I don`t play names. If I see the ball, I am down there. Initially, I wasn`t getting into great positions but was playing instinctively. Such is life it worked," he said.
Even though Edwards played at number three in this ongoing Test series, he was an opener in the preceding one-day series against India and the Barbadian said he believes in making the most of opportunities that comes his way.
"I am a number three batsman but (in the ODIs) the opening slot was vacant. In life, I grab whatever opportunity comes my way," he said.
A feature of Edwards` knock was the maturity with which he built his innings.
"I bat time. I look to bat session by session. In the first innings I was trying to get a start, played 29 balls, and then I was given (wrongly) out. But umpires make mistakes, it`s part of game," he said.