India will be a different challenge, says Gibson
New Delhi: The triumph against Bangladesh after a prolonged lean patch has given West Indies the much-needed fillip, but coach Ottis Gibson reckons the Test series against India will pose a different challenge altogether to his young side.
"Obviously there has to be a lot of positives from the Bangladesh series. Guys like Dwayne Bravo, Kirk Edwards and Darren Sammy contributed with the bat and ball, but this is a different challenge," Gibson said ahead of the first of the three Tests against the hosts on Friday.
"India may not be number one now but they are still a top side. India has the better line-up. They have a young side but the experienced guys like Sachin (Tendulkar), (Gautam) Gambhir and (Virender) Sehwag are back," he said, before adding, on a lighter note, "We will probably need to play seven bowlers to get them out."
India lost the number one status post their 0-4 debacle in an away series against England early this year.
What could benefit the West Indies is that they will be playing on conditions, which are pretty similar to Bangladesh.
"We are a team high on confidence. We just played a tough series in Bangladesh where the conditions were similar, so we relied on our skills. We are very well acclimatised to the conditions," the former pacer said.
The mere mention of his fast bowling unit brought a smile on Gibson`s face.
"Our fast bowlers -- (Darren) Sammy, (Fidel) Edwards and (Ravi) Rampaul -- have been doing well over the past 6-12 months. That`s our strength. We hope to quickly make inroads into the Indian line-up. Indian wickets favour spinners and the new ball will not swing for long, so we will need different skills, and one of them is reverse swing."
Asked about the morale of the team following the win in Bangladesh, he said, "The talk in our dressing room has been that of development. We have started to build. We are a developing side, a young side and the atmosphere is positive. A lot of young players are doing well. We expect a tough fight but we are ready for it."
On the spinner-friendly wickets here, one bowler who could play a decisive role is leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, and Gibson has a tip or two for him.
"Bishoo is a talented bowler, he is getting a lot of wickets. He is still very new to international cricket and he is not afraid to ask questions. He will have to work out in the middle, be accurate, be fearless, stand up to the challenge. He has a major role to play, he has to back his ability," Gibson said.
When talks veered towards India`s spin attack, Gibson said Harbhajan Singh`s absence is likely to be felt.
"Harbhajan is such an experienced bowler, has taken so many wickets, so it could be a negative (from India`s point of view). But (Ravichandran) Ashwin has done well in ODIs so he can be dangerous.”
"When a youngster is picked many think that he may not be ready, but the selectors must have felt that he is ready. Since it could be his first match, he would look to prove himself," Gibson said.
Rampaul was full of optimism after the training session at the Feroz Shah Kotla nets.
"We are quite confident after the Test series against Bangladesh. And I don`t see any reason why we can`t win here. We came here to win the series, we are looking forward to it, and hopefully, we can chalk out a victory. Conditions here are pretty similar to Bangladesh. We have done well there so that will help us to do well here.”
Rampaul believed that apart from having good pacers, his side is not short on quality spinners.
"We have quite a few good spinners and all-rounders as well. If we stick to our tasks, our plans, it shouldn`t be a problem."
Rampaul also said the SG balls, which are normally used for Test series in India, will not be a problem as the ones they use in the "local leagues in the Caribbean are similar".
"It helps the swing bowlers," he said. About the wicket, he said, "It looks like a dry track, a normal Indian wicket. Hopefully we will get some assistance. We have to back ourselves."