West Indies coach Ottis Gibson Saturday refused to term their Monday’s World Cup opponents, the Netherlands, as minnows and said they have already proved a point after their inspiring performance against England.
The Netherlands, an associate member making their fourth appearance in the World Cup, surprised everyone by pushing England to the wall during their opening match.
“Look, this is the World Cup and every game is going to be tough. A lot has been said this week and also last week about the minnows, ICC deciding to have 10 teams for 2014 (World Cup). I don’t like to call them minnows, they are a sort of lesser teams if you like it. They are here to prove a point, and they did prove a point against England,” said Gibson, a former bowling coach with the England.
“They beat England in World Twenty20, I was working with England at that time and I remember the feeling in our dressing room and jubilation in their camp. Those guys, when they come into an event like this, bring in lot of energy and with an expectation of upsetting a big team. Our fortunes of late do not suggest that we are a big team. But we still believe that we are a big team and we are here to prove that.”
West Indies played on the fresh pitch at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium here Thursday against South Africa and lost by seven wickets. They feel the familiarity with the conditions will work to their advantage.
“The wicket didn’t exactly play according how we thought. (Kemar) Roach plays here for the IPL team, (Dwayne) Bravo and (Kieron) Pollard have played a lot here in the IPL, and they said in the second innings it was going to go a lot slower and lower, which it did not,” said Gibson, who has played two Tests and 15 ODIs.
“It remained a pretty good wicket throughout the game. We are playing on the same wicket and that will pose some challenges as well. We know how the wicket will play and our thinking in terms of team has to reflect that.”
Gibson admits that their performance in the last two editions does not inspire confidence, but warns critics not to write them off so early on in the championship.
“People will say whatever they want, but we know what we can do. West Indies have won two World Cups in the past and we were in the final and in semifinals in 1996, so we have got history in this competition. Our players have got a lot belief that they can prove to the world that we are still a more than capable nation. Cricket is still very much alive in the Caribbean,” he said.
Gibson said the history of World Cup backs the underdogs. “In 1992 Pakistan had to win a game to qualify for the semifinals, they won the game and went on to win the World Cup. In 1983, India weren’t expected to win the World Cup but they won. So these things happen. We are well aware of the history of the competition and we are also aware of our standing in the game at the moment.”
“We have to be positive. We have to believe in the way we prepare, believe in the ability of the team. We have some amazing cricketers in the side, Chris Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul and we believe that we are still capable of moving up in the group and into the tournament,” he said.