Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Gibson turns attention to 50-over World Cup
DHAKA– West Indies coach Ottis Gibson has already trained his sights on next year’s 50-over World Cup, in the wake of his side’s failed campaign at the World Twenty20 Championship.
Speaking as West Indies prepared to return to the Caribbean following their exit from the tournament in Bangladesh, Gibson said he was already putting plans in place so the Caribbean side could compete strongly for another global title. The ICC World Cup is set to run from February 14 to March 29, in Australia. Gibson said that with series against New Zealand, Bangladesh, India and South Africa preceding the World Cup, West Indies had the ideal chance to groom a core of players well in advance. “I’ve been speaking to Richard Pybus (Director of Cricket) about getting together a core group of players to target the 50-over World Cup, getting some fitness done and making sure those guys are at the peak of their fitness,” Gibson explained.
“All those [series] are opportunities to start to formulate a team or a squad of players that will then become the basis of the team that is likely to play in the World Cup, and get those guys playing together as often as possible. “It would give captain (Dwayne) Bravo an opportunity to work with this group of players and get a brand of cricket that he wants to play developed and strong, so that by the time we get to the World Cup next year, the guys are ready to peak again and have a real good go at winning a world title.” Gibson said it was important that a strategic approach be taken, in order to select the best squad for the Australia trip. He pointed out that though a 30-man squad would likely be chosen, it was crucial that players who were ideally suited for the conditions Down Under be identified and groomed.
“You have to look at where we are going and then you look at the people that we have in the Caribbean that are likely to succeed in those conditions and give them the opportunity to play,” Gibson explained. “You will have a World Cup 30-man squad but by now there will be a core group of 15, 20 players that you will be looking to choose from and give opportunities to, and whittle it down to get to a 15-man squad as soon as possible. [You have to] get that 15-man squad playing as much cricket together as possible and start to develop some cohesiveness.” West Indies have emerged as a formidable side in the game’s shortest format, winning the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, and reaching the semi-finals here last week in the defence of that title.
However, their 50-over form has lagged behind, and West Indies have not won the World Cup since the first two tournaments were held back in 1975 and 1979. They bowed out at the quarter-final stage in India three years ago, reach the Super Eights in the Caribbean back in 2007 and could not get out of the first round in South Africa in 2003. However, Gibson said the T20 World Cup triumph had created a hunger inside the team. “I think the taste of winning a world title in Sri Lanka has given everybody a fantastic appetite for it (winning titles). We know what it takes, we know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and commitment to the cause and that’s what we are starting to see now.”