Excited Collins likes to play against India

Published: Saturday, June 10, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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St Luis:Pedro Collins has fond memories of India's last trip to the Caribbean four years ago.

It was not that he collected nine wickets at 37.11 runs apiece, but three times he snared India's batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar, and helped earn West Indies a 1-1 series draw.

"I am pretty excited about playing against India, since I know how they like to play the game, and there are a few attacking batsmen in their side," Collins told AFPon the eve of the match.

"They are a couple, like Rahul Dravid, who are pretty solid and it is always thrilling to play against guys of this calibre. You have got to bowl the ball in the right areas, and they are very good at making sure you improve your game."

Collins, a left-arm fast-medium bowler, is set to make a return to Tests for the first time in more than a year, when he was picked in the West Indies' 13-member squad for the second Test against India, starting on Saturday at the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia.

"The guys have welcomed me back with open arms and they are happy to see me return," he said. "Chris (Gayle), Corey (Collymore), and all the other guys are just excited, and hopefully I can fit into the team again, and we can continue our winning ways, since the team has been playing some good cricket in the last few weeks."

Collins recently recovered from a career threatening back injury and made a return to competitive cricket for his native Barbados in the semi-finals of the West Indies first-class championship in April.

"So far, my back is 100 percent better than it was before, and I have not had too many problems," he said. "I played a few first-class matches for Barbados and some club cricket at home, and I have not had too much trouble with it.

"I have been doing some work in the gym, and getting stronger, and hopefully I can stay fit for the next few years."

Collins has not played a Test, since the second match of last year's West Indies home series against South Africa at Port of Spain.

"It was pretty difficult sitting and watching some close matches that West Indies lost and seeing the guys out there, and wishing that you were there to help," he said.

"I have been watching a lot of the cricket and looking at how some of the batsmen play just in case I get a call-up, so that I would have an idea about the areas in which to bowl at them.

The 29-year-old Collins replaces his brother Fidel Edwards, the West Indies' fastest bowler, who delivered just 5.4 overs in India's second innings before he broke down with a hamstring strain in the first Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

"I am sorry to know that he got injured, since he was bowling pretty well lately," Collins said. "His speed has been up there with the fastest and he is one of the quickest bowlers in the World today.

"I wish him a speedy recovery, and hopefully, he can return for the last Test. But I am happy to be back - I have missed the game and it's good to be back."

Collins has snared 96 wickets in his 29 Tests with a best of six for 53 against Bangladesh two years ago in a career that has been marred by several injuries, and is looking forward to the triple-figure mark.

"I am looking to be as relaxed as possible, since it is going to be a big day for me, if I'm in the final 11," he said. "I am looking to end the match with 100 Test wickets and I think this would be a pretty good achievement for me, personally."

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