Windies ‘itching’ to play again
January 7, 2005
Windies ‘itching’ to play again

West Indies are “itching” to play again following their ICC Champions Trophy win last September.

The squad is now in Australia for the VB Series, also involving Pakistan. {{more}}

“In any cricketer’s life, three months away from playing a competitive game is a long time. A lot can happen.

“We’re just really looking forward to playing cricket,” new ball bowler Ian Bradshaw commented.

Victory over England in the Trophy final has boosted the self-belief of West Indies, who will play under Australian coach Bennett King for the first time.

“We always knew we had talent within the team. It was just a matter of us working together as a team.

“That came out in the Champions Trophy where we believed in our ability and came out successful,” said Bradshaw.

The team’s preparations were overshadowed by a dispute over contracts for the tour.

But the players insist they are fully focused and hope to prove the Trophy win was not a flash in the pan.

They also hope to show they are worthy successors to the team which dominated world cricket from the mid-1970s through to the early 90s.

Going into the VB Series, new West Indies coach Bennett King said that captain Brian Lara needs to be treated specially so the star batsman can have longevity in his career.

“We’ve got to be mindful of how we manage him so we get the best out of Brian for as long as he wants to play,” said King.

West Indies have three warm-up games before taking on Australia in Melbourne on 14 January.

And King, who took charge following the team’s success in the ICC Champions Trophy last September, has acknowledged a need to tailor his training regime to meet individual needs.

“Some people need to be treated differently, you need to be adaptable to their needs and the players around them – the players need to understand that too.”

The Windies coach has also dismissed reports of differences with captain Brian Lara ahead of the VB series tournament in Australia.

“He smiles at me every day and I smile at him every day, so it’s all right.”

The 39-year-old is back on home soil after previous spells in charge of Queensland and the Australian Cricket Academy.