Windies bank on spinners for a quarterfinal berth

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2011, 21:20 PM IST

Chennai: The West Indies, once renowned for their fearsome fast bowlers, are now banking on their spinners to get them through to the quarterfinal stages of the World Cup, but their head coach Ottis Gibson believes that this so-called transformation has more to do with the nature of pitches in the sub-continent

In fact, the West Indies even opened their bowling attack with left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn who, incidentally, is second in the wicket-takers` list with a haul of 12 in four matches, three of which they won.

Reflecting on this transformation in the West Indies bowling attack, the team`s head coach Ottis Gibson said it had as much to do with the spin-friendly sub-continental wickets as the region`s failure to produce six-foot plus tall bowlers of genuine pace.
"The West Indian cricket`s success in the past was built around tall fast bowlers, six feet six inches tall and bowling in tandem. But of late, we have been developing fast bowlers who are five feet six or five feet eight," said Gibson at a media interaction here Sunday.

The former West Indies fast bowler pointed out that the selectors had picked two specialist spinners in Benn and Nikita Miller to back up Chris Gayle, keeping in mind the nature of pitches.

"We knew that spin will play a part in the World Cup and so we selected two specialist spinners. So, now, we have three spinners and three seamers," said Gibson.

Looking ahead to the two Group B fixtures, Gibson said the focus was totally on the game against England Thursday and certainly not on the India match March 20.

"England have performed inconsistently in the competition, but we are more concerned about our performance. We want to give England another difficult game," Gibson said.

The West Indies have won three of the four matches and their only loss so far has been against South Africa.

"We know we have the talent, but it has not come to the fore. The players are focused and enjoying their stay in the World Cup," he said.

IANS