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`Our team, not Tendulkar, is our priority’
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter


Player:SR Tendulkar, BA King, CH Gayle
Event:West Indies in India 2006/07

DateLine: 21st January 2007

 

The West Indies camp is not unduly worried by India's latest strategy to push Sachin Tendulkar in the middle order for the ODI series with coach Bennett King saying his side would not make the mistake of focusing on individuals.

 

India have decided to bring Tendulkar, a prolific scorer at the top, down the order to compensate with his experience the loss of talented Yuvraj Singh who is out with a knee injury and is still on the mend.

 

Asked about his team's thoughts on Tendulkar coming down the order, King said he would rather focus on his own team rather than the opponent's strategies.

 

"We would focus more on our side rather than see what the other side does. Wherever he (Tendulkar) bats, he bats," King said on the eve of the first of four one-dayers in Nagpur. "In batting, bowling and fielding, we will start doing what we want to do on the field and not focus on individuals."

 

King said that India's bowling attack was a new challenge for his stroke-making batsmen.

 

"Every team needs good bowlers to survive. India's opening bowlers have done well over the last few games. This is a new challenge for them, a new challenge for us. We would be looking to dominate them." Left-handed opener Chris Gayle has been a thorn in the flesh for many bowlers around the world. But King chose to down play the Jamaican's success.

 

"Gayle has done well but everyone in the team is important. We have young players who have done well in the last six months. They have gained the experience and it's starting to tell," he said.

 

King said the wicket prepared for the match could help the spin bowlers, but his team would wait to finalise the playing eleven. He said the West Indies would like to give opportunities during the series to all the players in the squad to stake a claim for a berth in the World Cup squad. "We have in our mind what we want for the World Cup. They will get the opportunity to show their worth prior to the World Cup."

 

Asked about his team's impressive recent record against India, King said that the West Indies have done well not only against the hosts but against a lot of teams in the world recently and it was important for the squad to play more matches prior to the World Cup. "We have done pretty well against India. We have done well against lot of teams in the world. The more we play and get matches under our belt the better."

 

King was not totally in agreement that the middle overs were crucial during the World Cup on the slow wickets of the West Indies as was felt by the Indian think tank.

 

"Every part of the game of cricket is important. You need to get a good start, get good partnerships going and need to finish off well too," he said.

 

The Australian-born coach added that flexibility and adaptability to the situations were the keys to be successful in one-day cricket. "One-day cricket is all about being flexible. You need to have multi-purpose and multi-skilled players. If you lose 2-3 quick wickets you need the players to help recover and post 250.

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