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Opinions on the series- Atherton, Lara, Gooch

Electronic Telegraph

29 January 1998


England's captain is now on his second tour of the Caribbean, having made an impressive overseas debut in 1993-94.

WE were a young side in the last tour. And a good deal of our side is back, experienced in Caribbean conditions after coming here four years ago. We are much wiser than we were then and more experienced in Test match cricket. In that four years, West Indies have lost a couple of series to Australia and Pakistan. They are a side who know what defeat is all about now. This Test is crucial. The team winning it will have the advantage straight away, obviously.


The new West Indies captain has scored only one century in his past 11 Test innings - but he averages 91.94 against England.

I WILL be fully focused for this series and I hope it will give me a fresh start. I enjoy playing against England and I have had successful series' against them in the past. Angus Fraser and Andy Caddick could come up with a new problem, something like bowling me round my legs. I'm not paying particular attention to any particular thing. I'm trying to be as positive as possible. I've spent time thinking about my personal performance over the last couple of years. It's not on the decline, it's at the bottom at present. There is just one way - up. I'm hoping that in this series things will change and that this could be the start of something new. Hopefully, I'm going to focus on my batting and make a good contribution to a successful team performance.


England's former captain is now manager on the A tour in Sri Lanka and gives his thoughts on the coming series in the Caribbean.

THE West Indies have not been in great form recently and are not as good a side as they used to be, but things do not always pan out like that. You cannot argue that losing 3-0 in Pakistan is not a bad performance, but they still have some quality cricketers like Brian Lara and Carl Hooper. Although Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh are in the twilight of their careers, they still know what they are doing. They are still a force to be reckoned with and we would be silly to be complacent because it will be difficult over there in the different conditions and it will be dangerous to write them off. They have always shown a lot of pride and will be very dangerous because they have been wounded a little after things have not gone so well for them. We have a great chance if we can reproduce our best cricket. We know we can beat people but we have to do it on a more regular basis, game after game. We can't count ourselves as being the best Test side in the world but we are an emerging team and I would like to see us improve while we are out there. It is a tough place to play because of the style of bowling you face. Scoring runs is very difficult because there are few deliveries you can score off and they are very difficult to get away. Most of the balls you face will be delivered around the rib cage. There are not many opportunities to drive, and it is very much a battle of attrition.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:10