- Special Pages
BARBADOS: Tall spinner Shane Shillingford returns home to Dominica hoping to continue his heroics as the West Indies chase a sixth successive cricket Test victory when they take on Zimbabwe, starting today.
Shillingford was Man-of-the-Match after taking nine wickets in last week’s easy triumph in the first Test in Bridgetown, Barbados.
West Indies won by nine wickets in two-and-a-half days as spin bowling proved a surprise catalyst for success at the Kensington Oval.
It will be no surprise if the 30-year-old Shillingford, recalled to the Test side last week, wreaks havoc at Windsor Park in Roseau, his home ground.
He got 10 wickets there last April against Australia and says he wants similar success against the inexperienced Zimbabweans.
“Hopefully I will get a good return again,” he said in a television interview on the eve of the second of the two-Test series.
West Indies coach Otis Gibson called Shillingford’s role in the first Test exceptional, saying: “We expect the same again in Dominica. The spin department is strong right now. We have four or five quality spinners to choose from.”
For the home side in the second Test, scheduled to run through to Sunday, Gibson said there would be more focus on batting.
“One of our plans as a batting group is to try and bat 140 to 150 overs in an innings. (In Bridgetown), we got bowled out in a day; that wasn’t the best for us,” he told the official West Indies cricket website (www.windiescricket.com).
West Indies last got six Test wins in a row in 1988 but their latest achievement is still far from the halcyon days of calypso cricket three decades ago.
Their latest streak is made up of two wins over New Zealand last July, success in a two-match series in Bangladesh, followed by the easy win over Zimbabwe, who were playing their first Test in 14 months.
The inexperienced Zimbabwe will give wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva a late fitness test as he recovers from a finger injury. If he fails, captain Brendan Taylor will return to behind the stumps with batsman Sean Williams likely given a chance in the middle order.
Meanwhile, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has announced his participation in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), becoming the first international player to be involved in the newly formed T20 league. The CPL is scheduled to begin July 29, and will run till August 26. It will involve six franchise countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.
So far there are six confirmed West Indian players for the tournament: Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, and West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
As of now, no decision has been made as to which franchise Ponting will be associated with.
This is now Ponting’s fourth international T20 team, as he is already a part of the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, and Surrey in English county cricket.
Ponting retired in December last year from international cricket. AGENCIES