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Windies seek to extend unbeaten run
BRIDGETOWN - West Indies plan to extend their unbeaten run in test to six consecutive wins when they meet Zimbabwe here today in the first of two test matches that wrap up their Caribbean tour.
West Indies are currently on a four-Test winning streak, having last won five Tests in a row back in the late 80s, when they were still the reigning kings of world cricket.
The caribbean side is currently ranked number seven in the ICC test rankings while Zimbabwe is currently unranked, as it has played insufficient matches.
“This series doesn’t really post many points to us but we have Pakistan later down in the year and it would be a very important season for us in terms of points,” said Sammy.
“We are now just focusing on Zimbabwe and we have two test matches and we are looking to extend the run we have had in winning test matches and we believe we could go out there and do that”.
The inclusion of Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle have boosted the squad ahead of the first test at the usually pacy pitch at Kensington Oval.
All-rounder Samuels is returning after a two-month injury lay-off while Gayle is coming back in the squad after being rested for the ODIs and the T20s.
A number of big names have also been omitted from the squad for the first test including off-spinner Sunil Narine, Middle order batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
“It is always good when you have that kind of competition, giving the selectors a head ache to pick squads but the team has won four in a row so the guys have been doing well and we are all backing them to go out there and continue that job,” said the West Indies captain.
“You know its thirteen guys that could be selected on the squad so we will back them and we will go out there and try our best”.
Zimbabwe held their own during the warm-up game against Sagicor High Performance Centre, with Hamilton Maskadza scoring a century and Vusi Sibanda 80.
However the odds are against them.
They haven't played a five-day game since New Zealand thrashed them by an innings-and-301-runs a year ago.
Zimbabwe is about to play their fifth Test since ending their six-year exile from test cricket in 2011.
“If you look at the test cricket being played around the world, lower ranked teams are putting up a very good fight in cricket,”Sammy pointed out.
“We would not take them for granted but we know once we go out and continue to play the last four test matches we are going to be victorious”.
Of their last 27 international matches, spread over all three formats, Zimbabwe have lost 26 and won one.
The first test begins in the middle of a competitive West Indies cricket season which Sammy says will work in favour of his men.
“The good thing for us is that everybody has been playing cricket, four-day tournament is on so most guys are coming from playing four-day cricket which is good for us,” he said.
“For a while we have not entered a series where guys coming in with a lot of cricket behind them.But the guys look ready and we look to continue the winning ways we had in the one days and T20 series.”
Darren Sammy (Captain), Denesh Ramdin (Vice Captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford
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