Relieved that Gayle is not playing: Raina
Port of Spain (Trinidad): Indian captain Suresh Raina on Friday expressed relief that Chris Gayle would be missing at least the first three games of the present limited overs series against his team.
"To be honest yes (I`m relieved)," Raina remarked on the eve of the Twenty20 match which opens the six-week tour against the West Indies here tomorrow.
Gayle took the recent IPL by storm. The West Indian was the highest scorer (608 runs) with a strike rate in excess of 183 for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Raina remarked there is enough for his boys to be motivated to do well in the present series.
"There is no short of motivation now that we have a reputation to defend, we are the world champions."
Raina is personally looking to perform consistently which would help to exorcise his demons against short-pitched delivery and cement his place in the Test team.
"I am hitting the ball well and learning all the time in the company of Stephen Fleming, Gary Kirsten and now Duncan Fletcher."
Incidentally, all the three were left-handers during their careers.
Indian coach Duncan Fletcher is excited by the Indian team`s talent, which he had a chance to see first hand as a consultant to New Zealand side last winter.
He also realises the challenge confronting him, not the least because different approach would be required while dealing with seniors vis-a-vis juniors.
"I was consultant to New Zealand (last winter) and just watching those young Indian players was very exciting. These young players have the calibre, they have been exposed early to top class cricket. They look very positive," he said.
"Dealing juniors from seniors present different scenarios. Each player needs different handling. Personally for me, it’s difficult to keep up with the standards they have set. Yet there is scope to get better and improve."
Fletcher seems to not consider the volume of cricket played in the negative light.
"With the volume there is also a bigger pool of cricketers. It is a reality and you need to adjust to the present demands."
West Indian captain Darren Sammy said his side was equally motivated to do well.
"They are the best side of the world and you are motivated to do well against them. I haven`t performed as I would have liked to but I want to give off my best."
Sammy was not worried about the comments in the Caribbean that he did not quite deserve his place in the squad.
"I can do little about these comments. Fortunately I have a set of people around me who think differently, they support me. I too have belief in my ability."
West Indies presently are having difficulty against spinners and coach Ottis Gibson believed his team has talent to tackle it.
Gibson did not want to get drawn into the controversy of players vs board in the Caribbean presently and said it was not for him to comment on it. AS keep up with the standards they have set. Yet there is scope to get better and improve."