Kingston: The Indian team sports a distinctly depleted look in absence of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan but West Indies captain Chris Gayle said he would not make the folly of underestimating the visitors in the forthcoming four-match ODI series starting on Friday.
After arriving here from England along with Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor and Xavier Marshall, Gayle said India maybe without some of the star players but West Indies would do well not to take them lightly.
“It is never a walk over against India. There are a lot of guys still there to give us a lot of trouble, so we just have to stick to the game plan and make it a successful one,” Gayle said.
The hosts themselves have seen quite a few changes in their squad with pace spearhead Fidel Edwards missing the tournament with a back injury.
The West Indies selectors added Darren Bravo, younger brother of Dwayne, in the 13-member squad in which Runako Morton and Narsingh Deonarine replaced Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard.
“There are a few changes in the squad, there is Darren Bravo and Deonarine coming in and it is a good opportunity for them to play an important part against India,” Gayle said.
Senior batsman Sarwan also agreed that even a depleted India would prove a difficult challenge for the hosts in the series.
“The Indians are a very good one-day team and while they may be without a couple of their players, they will prove to be a handful for us,” Sarwan said.
“But we are in good form and have confidence in our abilities and hopefully, beginning Friday, we can get a good start to the series,” added Sarwan.
On his personal form, the right-hander said, “I don’t think I have too much problem with my form, it’s just unfortunate in the T20 game you don’t have too much overs. But apart from that, I am pretty confident and I am hitting the ball well.”
Gayle, meanwhile, was proud of the West Indies’ performance in the Twenty20 World Cup even though he rued not advancing beyond the semi-finals.
“It was a pretty decent performance. We tried our best but in the end it was not to be. But I am not disheartened. In fact, I am proud of the guys, as at the championship, not many were expecting us to reach that far,” said Gayle.
“The aim was to bring home the trophy and make everyone happy, especially the fans. Having said that, however, it was a wonderful experience, one that I think will serve the team well going into the future and one that should serve us well when we host the next World Twenty20 Championship here in the Caribbean,” added the skipper.
Meanwhile, Indian team sources said they were not aware of Mahendra Singh Dhoni warning his players not to hide injuries or niggles ahead of the one-day series against the West Indies.
Dhoni was reported to have given a dressing down to his teammates and had told them that they need to be truthful about injuries or any personal issues that could affect the team’s performance.
The reports said that Dhoni was forced to address this issue because of what happened to his deputy Virender Sehwag in England where the Delhi batsman had arrived for the Twenty20 World Cup carrying an injury.
He was later withdrawn from the team after it was found that the injury had
Dhoni is reported to have told the players that if they wanted to take a break from the game they should tell him or the BCCI.