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Edwards salvages pride for winded WI

india Updated: Jul 11, 2011 00:59 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

When Kirk Edwards scrambled for the single to reach his century on Test debut on Saturday, there were three very proud men in the stadium. Father and uncle celebrated in the stands while Desmond Haynes, the batting coach and a former Windies opener, cheered from the dressing room balcony.

Eleven years ago, when Edwards was barely 15, Haynes selected him for the Barbados senior team to the consternation of everyone who felt that the boy was being thrown into the deep end. Haynes predicted then that Edwards would go on to play for the West Indies.

It has taken a while. The natural number three has failed as opener in the ODIs. But Saturday's innings could well spark a West Indies batting revival.

There is an unmistakeable swagger in the gait of the 13th West Indies century-maker on debut. His awareness should help him do better than Adrian Barath, his predecessor in that elite list. But the real motivation has come from the fans and the media running down the current side.

"Test cricket is about fighting. It is a dream come true," he said, after the century partnership with Shivnarine Chanderpaul on the fourth day at Windsor Park. But there was hurt in his voice.

"I see what I want and go after it. I want to be a pillar of West Indies cricket," he said. "It really kept me going, the crowd here. Playing around the Caribbean sometimes you hear people say a lot of negative things. It is a new, young team and the guys are learning on the job. So the public needs to have a little patience.

"I take all negatives and transfer them into positives. Growing up, you take a drive, go to the supermarket, people keep saying you (West Indies) can't play, you can't, you can't. I just see how I can. People should keep telling me I can't.

In all fairness they grew up seeing West Indies playing great cricket. So it is hard to swallow this. But youngsters need support."

He displayed solid defence, and was in control of the pull and showed a temperament team mates like Barath and Darren Bravo have lacked.

As a boy, Edwards only got to see the highlights of Viv Richards's innings on TV, but Brian Lara and Carl Hooper were 'live' motivation.

"I felt proud to go to the Kensington Oval as a young boy, watch the guys play and thought that I will one day be doing the same thing."

In Dominica, Edwards sought out VVS Laxman for a chat. "If I had half the ability VVS has, it will be a good thing. But I wanted to understand the thinking behind such a great man, so I had a brilliant chat with him the other night."

West Indies need more such characters to pull themselves out of the rut they find themselves in.

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