Georgetown (Guyana): West Indies cricket captain Carl Hooper said on Monday his team would try to capitalise on India's weakness against fast bowling in the upcoming Test series in the Caribbean.
"We'll rely more on pace than spin to put pressure on India," Hooper said at Bourda, venue for the opening Test starting on April 11. Saurav Ganguly's Indians will play five Tests and as many One-day internationals on their two-month tour. Pace was the key to the West Indies success against the Indians in the last Test series between the two teams in the Caribbean in 1997. Sachin Tendulkar's team lost the five-Test series 0-1, its lone defeat coming in the third match at Bridgetown in Barbados. India, chasing a modest 120-run target, was shot out for 81 as pacemen Ian Bishop grabbed four wickets, while Curtly Ambrose and Franklyn Rose shared the other six. "Since we don't have world class spinners like India has in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, we'll go for pace," said the 35-year-old West Indian skipper. "India has very good batsmen in Tendulkar, (Rahul) Dravid and Ganguly, but most of the guys are making their first trip to the West Indies. We'd like to take advantage of that." Only five members of the current Indian squad - Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and Venkatsai Laxman - have had the experience of playing in the West Indies. Hooper said the series was very important for India and the West Indies as both of them have a poor overseas record. India is yet to win a Test series outside the sub-continent since 1986, while the West Indies has recently lost 0-3 in Sri Lanka and 0-2 against Pakistan at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. "I was very disappointed with Sharjah," said Hooper, a veteran of 92 Tests and 205 One-day Internationals. He said inexperience was one of the main reasons for the West Indies not performing impressively in away matches. "We need experienced players, especially on tough tours," said Hooper, who returned to the game last year after announcing his retirement just before the 1999 World Cup in England. "We have some good, young exciting cricketers, but they lack experience. Our bowling is not as strong as it was in the past. That's why we struggle to win away Tests. "But I think we are moving in the right direction. It's going to take some time (to win matches on tours). We need patience." Hooper, however, believed his team would play competitive cricket against India in the forthcoming series. "Its going to be an exciting series. I think the series against India will be competitive one on good cricketing pitches. Come June, we'll win." India ends its tour with the fifth and final One-day International at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad on June 2.
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