Windwards arrive minus Sammy

BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

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WINDWARDS Islands captain Liam Sebastien showed no sign of fear or intimidation as his team prepares for Friday's opening match of the West Indies Regional Four-Day Cricket Championship against defending champions Jamaica — the team which beat them in the semi-finals of the recent T20 tournament.

The Windwards arrived in the island yesterday in rainy conditions ahead of the encounter against the home team — which has won the championship for the past four years — at Sabina Park, still smarting from their loss against the home side in the shorter version of the game two weeks ago.

"We're not going to take them lightly, but at the end of the day we're going to play cricket... we'll be raring to go come Friday and we're just going to give our best," Sebastien stated.

The Dominican was confident, noting that his team made it to the semi-finals of the four-day competition last year also after playing in the slammer tournament.

"Obviously it's a different format but at the end of the day it's the same ball and the bat that we used. Last year it was an easy transition so we're just hoping... the transition won't be difficult and we turn it around. The guys are experienced enough to know what we have to do," he said.

The team is playing without the experienced West Indies skipper Darren Sammy, but Sebastien was not perturbed, having travelled a similar road in the 2011 tournament.

"It is obviously a big task to be captain, but I was the captain for the season last year because Darren and Devon (Smith) were absent, but having said that, it is the same game of cricket that we're going to play," the all-rounder said.

"Somebody like Darren is a big loss, but... obviously it's an opportunity for somebody else to step in. Darren didn't play last year and we reached the semi-finals, so (hopefully) he's out for one game... when he comes back he'll fit straight in the team. We're not worrying about him not being here," he added.

Sebastien also spoke about getting the players motivated for what might be a monumental task against a confident Jamaica side.

"There has always been unity among the team in Windward Islands cricket and it's no different this time. Whenever we go out to train we usually just get the equation right... and everybody starts from there, so it's not a difficult task to motivate the guys.

"Everybody knows what their role is and... what the goal we're here for. We're not here just to make up numbers; we're here to play tough cricket, so it's not very difficult to motivate the team," he asserted.

Meanwhile, team manager Lockhart Sebastien, who is Liam's father, noted that the team was a young one, but said it was basically the same team which advanced to the semi-final stage last year, so he does not expect youth to be too much of a factor.

"They're a young team; we're hoping that they can learn... They've been around for a while though they're young... They're young, but basically, they're experienced," he said.

One disadvantage arises from the team being a combination of players from the various islands, but the elder Sebastien is hoping that arriving three days before the game will help them get settled before the real test.

"We're not like Jamaica (one country), so guys have to go home, but we're hoping to get some good practice over the next few days," he said.




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