India -Windies first One-day today at Jamaica

Published: Thursday, May 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kingston:India and West Indies cricket teams were locked in interesting mind-games ahead of the first One-day starts here in Kingston today. While Indian skipper Rahul Dravid showed full faith in his boys to deliver in his first major assignment as captain outside the Indian sub-continent, West Indies captain scoffed at the idea of writing his side out of the series.

With emphatic 116-run victory in the side game against the Jamaica eleven, Men in Blue are riding on high spirits. Dravid believes that the youthful exuberance of his team could be the decisive factor in the five-match One-day series.

''I have full faith in my young team. The boys have really delivered whenever required,'' said Dravid.

Even though the team was young, it wasn't exactly in-experienced, the Indian captain added.

''We don't have any shortage of experience. There are seniors to guide the young players. Whatever matches the boys have got they have shown the zeal and enough talent. We have won many matches because of the young players' contributions, he said.

From perennial chokers until recently, Indian team has developed hound like efficiency in chasing down targets. India has won 16 games in a row batting second, which contrasts sharply to the West Indies record of 10 losses in the last 13 chases. While Yuvraj Singh has really matured as a clinical finisher, the knocks of Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Romesh Pawar at crucial times haven't gone un-noticed either.

Dravid has emphasised the need for his team to maintain winning momentum.

''We have been winning continually for sometime now and there is no reason why we shouldn't continue that. Young players have performed and they should continue doing this. It is good for all, said the Indian skipper.

However, services of Romesh Pawar would be missed, he added.

''Romesh Pawar is injured. If he would have played it would have been better for us but there is no need to worry,'' said Dravid.

West Indies skipper Brian Lara is confident of victory too. After taking up captaincy for the third time at the start of the series against Zimbabwe Lara exhorted his team to show their hunger for victory. His words were heeded. West Indies are on victory spree themselves, albeit the low-lying Zimbabwe side. Having clean swept the One-day series against Zimbabwe the West Indies are hoping to continue the winning streak. Lara feels winning is a habit and the clean sweep has only strengthened their resolve to continue it.

''I believe winning can be contagious and we are looking forward to continue the trend in our next challenge against India,'' said Lara.

''You've got to go out there and win the game, it doesn't matter who the opponents are. We played really well and we closed the opposition out. I think if we do similar against India it will be good for us in the future,'' Lara added.

He believes that although two matches were lost to rain, the series against Zimbabwe has put the West Indies team back in shape.

''Credit must be given to all the players, I think they played really well. It's been a pretty short series in terms of we missed a couple games, but I think we've enjoyed it and we've got a lot out of it. Quite a few players have stood up and got counted when it mattered," said Lara. However, Lara also mentioned that the Indian team was on a roll and in the last few months has really established themselves as one of the top One-day teams of the world today.

''Our boys have played well in the last couple of weeks but the true test will be against the Indians. They have also played good cricket and are going to be altogether different proposition,'' he said adding that the West Kingston pitch has a hint of grass but the grounds man believes it will assist both bowlers and batsmen and it could well turn out to be a good scoring match.

However, weather could play dampener. It rained today morning and there was a forecast of rains tomorrow also. Two matches in the just concluded series against Zimbabwe were lost due to rains.

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