West Indies Here To Thrill New York
By Orin Davidson
It is beyond any doubt , speculation or conjecture, the West Indies cricket team is here in New York and promises a treat for United States fans in two days of anticipated non- stop action at Floyd Bennett Field beginning today (Saturday July 8).
King pin Brian Lara flew in from Trinidad and Tobago last evening, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Fidel Edwards, Corey Collymore, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Ramdin, Wavell Hinds, Rawle Lewis and Ian Bradshaw arrived Thursday evening while Shivnarine Chanderpaul was due from Orlando, Florida yesterday and Darren Ganga from Trinidad and Tobago also yesterday, for the two 50 overs a side games against the United States national team that will conclude tomorrow (Sunday July 9).
It is a West Indies lineup that recently crushed world number two ranked India and expected to form the core of the Caribbean squad for next year’s World Cup.
And they are all thrilled to showcase their skills for the cricket starved United States cricket population.
Following his return to the captaincy, Lara is set to shrug off his differences with the West Indies team selectors and promises to produce two master class innings before his Big Apple fans. The Caribbean team’s manager Ahmed Proverbs, the former Barbados batsman said Lara has put all the distractions behind him to give a 100 percent performance in both games.
Lara told Cricket International back in May he is anxious to make his contribution to the development of West Indies cricket. “It is always good to spread your wings and get across to a different sort of audience,” he said.
“I have not played cricket there (New York) for sometime, so I personally am looking forward to getting there,” he added.
Ace fast bowler Fidel Edwards said he is raring to go after missing West Indies’ last three Tests against India. “I feel great, the leg is fine, I am ready for anything,” the team’s fastest bowler declared on Thursday night after a hamstring injury recently sidelined him. “ I only gave the younger guys a chance,” he jokingly told Cricket International, between mouthfuls of West Indian food at the Kaieteur Restaurant when asked if he could’ve played in West Indies’ final Test against India in Jamaica last weekend.
Dwayne Smith the explosive young batsman said he is anxious to show fans where his power comes from when he takes the field for his first two games in New York. The 22-year-old Barbadian is one of West Indies’ most gifted players presently as the bowling skills and electric fielding make him the ideal limited overs specialist.
“It’s all about the timing which comes naturally to me,” the reserved Smith explained shortly after his arrival here.
Exciting 21-year-old wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Ramdin assured he would be continuing where he left off from a blazing unbeaten half century off India last Sunday in Jamaica.
“It was a satisfying innings and I was just getting warmed up when West Indies last wicket fell,” the tall youngster told this newspaper at the JFK Holiday Inn.
Ramdin is an aggressive batsman whose fast scoring belies his almost frail stature and has already chalked up a number of “blinders” so far in his international career.
With him teaming up with power hitters Gayle, Smith, Sarwan, Hinds with stroke- machine Lara, the Floyd Bennett crowd will be warned to be on the constant look-out to preserve their health from the anticipated stream of sixes expected, as the United States team also contains big hitters.
Bradshaw who has developed into one of the team’s most reliable players in both One Dayers and Tests expressed his delight to be a part of the Caribbean side and stressed the importance of West Indies and America developing stronger links.
“It is good to know the interest is high for the two games which is a good sign for the future,” the left arm medium pacer said on Thursday night.
Collymore who played several years here in the New York Leagues, was busy catching up with his teammates via cell phone on his arrival and vows to make up for his unavailability this year for Westbury Club in the Metroplitan League.
Rangy leg spinner Rawle Lewis is also a veteran of New York competition and aims to prove his batting is just as prolific as his bowling. With one eye on the upcoming West Indies Stanford 20/20 competition which starts next weekend, Lewis who is Grenada’s captain will be using the two games here to sharpen up after missing the just concluded West Indies showdown with India.
Sarwan who was the first team member to arrive in New York, having done so since Wednesday is on a high after climbing to the exalted number two batting position in the World One day International rankings.
The talented Guyanese right handed batsman is displaying a level of consistency unmatched in ODIs within the team of late and his United States fans should enjoy him at the peak of his powers this weekend.
With his great range and power, Gayle has established himself as one of the game’s premier one-day batsmen as his spectacular stroke play and stingy off spin bowler made him a West Indies match winner many times over.
Chanderpaul who uses Orlando as a second home, is probably the team’s most popular player other than Lara in New York, based on his prodigious scoring in both forms of the game and his humble personality.
After several years entertaining the New York crowds, the Guyanese will be returning to the Big Apple re-energized after a short stint as West Indies captain and eager to continue making his bat talk for his loving New York fans
The United States squad is a well balanced side that will be captained by star batsman Steve Massiah and also includes dashing all-rounder Lennox Cush and West Indies batsman Devon Smith.
The action will start at 9.30 am on both days and directions to Floyd Bennett Park in Brooklyn are located on the advertisement on page 17 of this week’s issue.
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