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Rediff.com  » Sports » Maturing West Indies give Dyson reward

Maturing West Indies give Dyson reward

February 10, 2009 09:48 IST

West Indies coach John Dyson has spent two years trying to turn a group of talented individuals into a team that can win again and after the first Test rout of England he senses things are starting to come together.

"We have produced some very good cricket over the last 12 months but it is a matter of becoming consistent and being able to produce that sort of cricket when we need it," the Australian told Reuters in an interview.

"There have been some times in the past year when we have done some very good things and then all of a sudden lost it, for one maybe two sessions, or in one-day cricket lost it for a spell of five overs -- and that has cost us the match," he said.

"I like the way that once we had England on the ropes we drove home that advantage and won the game," he added.

Dyson has never doubted the ability of his three premier batsmen - skipper Chris Gayle and the Guyana pair of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, but what clearly pleased him in the innings victory over England, with a day to spare, was the leading role of two bowlers.

Sulieman Benn took eight wickets in the Test, the first time a spinner has achieved that for West Indies since Lance Gibbs in 1975 and pace bowler Jerome Taylor simply sliced England open with a devastating spell of 5-11 in nine overs.

SHY FIGURE

Benn's performance appears to have answered the question of whether West Indies have a spinner capable of performing at Test match level.

"I think he bowled superbly in this game," said Dyson, "We've always thought that a guy of his height and control should be a handful for a lot of sides."

The lanky Benn has looked a shy figure at times but against England, where he bowled a marathon, unchanged 33-over spell in the first innings, he was noticeably more sure of himself, a process Dyson puts down to experience.

"I think the more he plays at this level, the more comfortable he is going to become. He's learnt over the last few Test matches that this isn't an easy game. It's not a Twenty20.

"He is a very good Twenty20 bowler but in that format he can bowl four overs and get off and that is the end of it for him but in Test cricket it is a long, hard grind at times.

"I think this Test was the first time he has really been able to handle the fact that - 'I'm going to be on for a long time, I've got to bowl well, they are depending on me'," he said.

Taylor's performance was less surprising for Dyson.

GREAT YORKER

"Jerome often bowls spells that make you say, 'my goodness what a great spell', but here he put it exactly where he wanted to put it. He applied the little bit of variation that he wanted and also produced a great yorker to bowl Kevin Pietersen and that really was a critical wicket," he said.

Dyson has had the added challenge of working with a player new to captaincy and the Australian says he is impressed with how Gayle has matured into the role.

"I think he's grown over the last 12 months and become a lot more comfortable with lots of aspects of the job.

"It's a difficult job being the captain of an international cricket team. Its not just your own game you've got to worry about, you've got to be concerned about the welfare of the other players around you, about media commitments, about all other sorts of responsibilities," he said.

The bonus, says Dyson, is that captaincy appears to have had an entirely positive effect on Gayle's batting - evident in his carefully constructed century at Sabina Park.

"Chris has shown that he is growing in the role and at the same time his own game is maturing. We have seen in the last six months a Chris Gayle that people weren't sure is there."

Simon Evans
Source:
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