Castro eyes Kolkata revolution

Windies pacer Edwards hopes to rattle strong Indian line-up

 Fidel Edwards will be key to West Indies’  fortunes in the second Test against India at Kolkata. AFP

The 29-year-old Barbadian has missed almost as many Tests as he has played since making his West Indies debut in June 2003, but in the last year, Edwards has been both injury-free and on top of his bowling. His slinging action and searing pace make him a dangerous proposition on even the slowest of tracks, and as he heads into his 50th Test, at the Eden Gardens on Monday, Edwards is clearly relishing life back in the fast lane.

Edwards has no prior experience of playing at the Eden. “But it is my 50th Test,” he said on Saturday afternoon. “Hopefully, we can come up with a win and I can take some wickets, and we can then move on to the third Test.”

That said, Edwards conceded that it will be no easy task to stop the Indians and bounce back from a 0-1 deficit in the three-Test series. “It's going to be very tough for us as a team, playing against the number three team in the world. But as you saw, we pushed them in the first Test, we did well as a unit and fought well. We have come here to play good cricket and hopefully, we can push them again.”

Sachin Tendulkar was Edwards’ 150th Test victim, at the Kotla, but it’s number 151 that the pacer singled out as the most difficult batsman to dislodge. “Probably Dravid,” he said when asked who he has found the toughest to bowl to in his career. “He’s known all over the world as ‘The Wall’. He's been very good up front, it's very hard to get him out.”

Edwards produced a peach in the second innings to get rid of Dravid, though he stopped short of calling it his best delivery ever. “The plan was to bowl as straight as possible as the ball was keeping low. The ball started reversing and I got bowled. It was good for me.”
Words are not his forte, though the occasional nervous giggle does reflect the awe with which the Caribbeans hold their opponents in general, and Tendulkar in particular. “Sachin is a great player, you can't deny that,” Edwards mused. “As a youngster having watched him on television and coming to bowl against him now is a great achievement for me, and to have got him out as well. I am very attacking as a bowler and it's important for us to get him out early, especially on these wickets.” Edwards occasionally loves to bang the ball in and get it climb to chest height, a task almost impossible on benign Indian surfaces.

“The wickets have kept pretty low,” he said. “It's been pretty hard, playing against Dravid, Sachin, Laxman. These guys are great, they have been scoring runs all over, and they are playing at home. So it's going to be very tough. But once the ball starts to reverse, we can put them under pressure.

“As a bowling unit, we've been sticking to our plans and bowling together as a batch. In team meetings, we try to chart a course, come up with a plan. You have to be smart on your feet. It's gonna be hard on wickets to bowl the bouncer. Hopefully, you can get one to fly and put doubts in the batsman's mind.”

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