Well begun is always half done
Both teams are struggling since neither has achieved the required consistency, says Viv Richards.india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 16:56 IST
The Caribbean is awash with football fever, and all the islands are rooting for the Soca Warriors from Trinidad and Tobago.
Since the timings are more convenient this time than they were during the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, a lot of people will follow the tournament keenly. That is not to say that cricket will take a backseat - we West Indians love our sports and the more events, the better!
The Test at St Lucia will see the Indians go in with a lot more confidence than in Antigua. The disappointment of not winning the game should not obscure from them the fact that they made a marvellous turnaround in the game, and with the right bit of luck they should do well in this Test.
I have plans to go to St Lucia for the Test, and from all accounts the wicket will assist fast bowlers. Both sides have their injury worries, with Fidel Edwards and S Sreesanth ruled out due to injury.
In all probability Irfan Pathan will make a comeback and it will be interesting to see how he goes. I saw images of the youngster taking tips from my fellow Antiguan Andy Roberts, and it will be interesting to see whether he has been fired up or deflated by his omission from the last Test.
It's moments like these that give you an insight into a sportsman's character, and I hope Pathan takes this setback as a challenge.
The other interesting aspect of the Indian team selection would be to see whether Harbhajan makes his way back into the team. The wicket does not have much in it for spinners, yet Harbhajan's experience cannot be discounted.
As far as the West Indians are concerned, the absence of Edwards would definitely be a blow on a green wicket. His half brother Pedro Collins makes his way into the squad, and it would be interesting to see how the Indians fare against his left-arm stuff, since they have often had trouble against left-arm pacers.
There is also some concern about the fitness of Corey Collymore, so this is not a happy time for the West Indian team management. I am also a little concerned on seeing some old habits creeping back.
Even though the last pair hung on manfully, it was not a pretty sight to see the hosts go from three down to nine down in just one session. I would like to see the commitment and intensity we saw in the one-dayers surface in the longer version of the game.
At present both sides seem to be struggling in the Tests since neither team has achieved the consistency that is required to win a fiveday game. At Antigua, there were flashes of brilliance from both teams, but neither was consistent enough to deserve a win.
Finally, the openers will play a crucial role in this game since the new ball will certainly do something on this wicket. India are doing well in this department, with Wasim Jaffer coming off a double century and Virender Sehwag looking in good nick.
From the history books
VVS Laxman needs 23 runs to complete 1,000 runs against the West Indies. He will be the 10th Indian to do so.
Anil Kumble needs 87 runs to become the 2nd cricketer after Shane Warne to score 2000 runs and capture over 500wickets.
Laxman will become the 12th Indian to appear in 75 Tests.
Dravid needs 142 more to become the top run-getter in year 2006. He has so far scored 661 runs in 7 Tests. Ricky Ponting tops the table with 802 runs in 6 Tests.
Chris Gayle needs 55 runs to complete 4,000 runs in Tests. He will be the 15th West Indian to reach that mark.