West Indies fretting over Chanderpaul`s fitness

Mumbai: With experienced batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul missing the team`s practice session ahead of third and final Test against India on Monday, the West Indies are keeping their fingers crossed and have decided to take a call on him Tuesday morning before the start of the match.

"We are monitoring the situation to see if he could make it tomorrow. Given the experienced player that he is we will take a call tomorrow," West Indies skipper Darren Sammy told reporters on the eve of the inconsequential Test.

India have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in three-match Test series by winning the first two games at Delhi and Kolkata, and Chanderpaul, who completed 2000 career Test runs against the hosts in this series, had injured his calf-muscle while batting in the second innings of second Test at Eden Gardens that West Indies lost by an innings and 15 runs.

The 37-year-old Guyanese has scored a century (118) and two 47s in the four innings so far.

Given the expected nature of the wicket at the Wankhede, which curator Sudhir Naik has termed as "sporting", Sammy hinted that the Caribbean team could field a fourth pacer with speedster Ravi Rampaul likely to come in for leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.

Bishoo has not troubled the strong Indian batting line-up much, barring a double strike against Sachin Tendulkar.

"That is something we are looking at. Whatever impact has been had has been by the fast bowlers. Ravi (Rampaul) might come in. Hopefully, we will salvage a draw or a win," he said.

Praising the practice pitches at the Wankhede, Sammy hoped that after playing in slow and low pitches in the first two Tests, his bowlers would get something to cheer about in Mumbai if the match track played similar to the practice ones.

"So far the practice wickets have been good. There is something in there for the fast bowlers and the batsmen seem to be playing their shots as well. Let`s just hope the Test wicket is like that, too," said Sammy.

"If our bowlers dig in short, they (should) get bounce and there (should) be something for them while bowling at the Indian batsmen like Sachin (Tendulkar), (Gautam) Gambhir and (Virender) Sehwag.

At Eden Gardens when we bowled short it did create a few opportunities. Let`s just hope its a good cricket wicket where there is something for both bowlers and batsmen," he added.

The 27-year-old St Lucian cricketer felt his team had been showing improvement but needed to be more consistent.

"After the India tour (in June in Caribbean), I was asked what was I worried about? I think it is mental toughness. Teams have to be mentally strong to do well. We are a side that everyone expects to do well. Once we keep improving, I`d be happy.”

"Last Test, we scored the highest score in a second innings for West Indies while following on, 400-plus runs in the second innings. It was good to see that we were not awed over. So far we have been playing good cricket, but we have to be consistent. If we bat well in one innings, we don`t bat well in other innings," explained the captain.

"If we have to be competitive, we have to do that consistently. We need to be more selective. But at the same time we have to make sure that their bowlers, especially spinners don`t dominate. We have to be selective as well as aggressive. Hopefully we would be able to do that," he added.

Sammy said that his players have begun playing the two Indian spinners, Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin, who have shared 26 wickets between them in the series, well.

"We played the two spinners well. We scored 400 plus (at Eden Gardens) and spinners bowled most of the overs, we definitely played them better," he insisted. Heaping special praise on left-hander Darren Bravo, who scored a superb 136 at Kolkata, Sammy said he was happy with the talent in the West Indian side.

"He (Bravo) is one of the youngest members of the side, one of the guys whom the coaches have marked for the future. Since making his Test debut against Sri Lanka, he has been improving. It shows that the more experience you gain at the international level, the better you become. In Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and here, he has been a shining star for us. I hope he continues to do that in the future too.”

"Looking at it I`m happy with the young players coming in. Bravo, Kemar Roach, Devendra Bishoo are doing well for us in international cricket. Kirk Edwards started at 26. The team has some good players coming through. So it`s about believing and being consistent," he said.

The Windies all-rounder, however, conceded that his team was unable to grab chances at crucial times that allowed oppositions to sneak away to safety from hopeless situations.

"(India`s) 600 (at Eden Gardens) could have easily been 420. Despite India batting so well, we created opportunities to restrict them to a lower total. In the last six months we have dropped some crucial match-changing catches. I can remember dropping Rahul Dravid in Jamaica.”

"But we have to keep moving forward. There will always be dropped catches. Let`s just hope that we make a way for ourselves to overcome it."

Sammy revealed that the former Caribbean pacer Courtney Walsh, who visited the West Indian nets yesterday, had advised the bowlers to be more patient and not expect to take a wicket off each ball.

"Courtney advised the bowlers to be patient. That`s what (Fidel) Edwards was doing at the nets. He was practising being patient in the nets," Sammy said.


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