West Indies start preparation for Tendulkar`s farewell series
Kolkata: As the hype around senior Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar`s farewell Test series builds up, the West Indies will begin their month-long tour with a three-day practice match against the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association starting here on Thursday.
The West Indies have already stated that they have come here with a mission to win the series, would not give even an inch to Tendulkar and try their best to spoil his farewell.
"We`re here on a mission to win the series. We`ll try our best to stop him (Tendulkar) from scoring. We`ll not give him an inch. He has to earn every run," West Indies operations manager Richie Richardson had said after a recce of the practice venue -- Jadavpur University Campus ground in Saltlake -- yesterday.
The Windies have no Sunil Narine, the mystery off-spinner who is known for his exploits in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Windies line-up has two specialist tweakers in 30-year-old off-spinner Shane Shillingford and left-armer Veerasammy Permaul and it seems that the former would be picked because of his experience.
In the pace attack, there`s no Ravi Rampaul and they have Kemar Roach and Tino Best as the new-ball bowlers along with captain Darren Sammy medium pace.
Besides, Kirk Edwards and wicketkeeper batsman Chadwick Walton are on a comeback trail.
Edwards, known to India for his debut Test century in 2011 at Roseau, was dropped after his failure in their England tour of 2012 but captained West Indies A with success in their tour to India in September.
He made a 91 in the first-class game followed by a century in the List A match as the Windies would definitely hope that he starts with another big knock.
The UPCA XI will have three former Indian players in batsman Mohammad Kaif, medium pacer RP Singh and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla who has been named captain of the side.
The damp wicket at the JU Campus ground after the heavy rains will definitely bring some hope for the slow bowlers as the UPCA too will look to make a case for itself ahead of the high profile Test series.
Originally scheduled in Cuttack, the match had to be shifted to the Eastern metropolis due to heavy rains in Odisha but the scenario is grim here as well.
Saturday`s record showers had left the hosts, Cricket Association of Bengal, in the lurch.
Such was the water-logging on Sunday that even after two full days of bright sunshine, the outfield and the wicket were soft and yesterday`s practice had to be shifted to Sourav Ganguly`s academy nearby.
Even Eden Gardens, which will host the opening Test in the Tendulkar farewell series from November 6-10, was hit as the Ranji Trophy match between Bengal and Baroda could not be held for three days.
The West Indies will play two Tests and three ODIs in their tour of India. The second Test is scheduled for November 14 at the Wankhede while the three ODIs will be played on November 21, 24 and 27.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (c), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sheldon Cotterrell, Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Chris Gayle, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford and Chadwick Walton.
UPCA: Piyush Chawla (c), Mohammad Kaif, Mukul Dagar, Parminder Singh, Parmar Srivastava, Mohammad Amir Khan, Ekalavya Dwivedi, Imitiyaz Ahmed, Prashant Gupta, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Ali Murtaza, Parveen Gupta, Arish Alam and Umang Sharma.
Match starts 9am IST.