Q&A: Chappell, Lara, Gayle
Fri, May 19, '06
Not all that is said at a post-match press conference will find its way to the media. In fact, having gone to many of these and then reading what is written in the press or shown on television, most of it is chopped. At the press conference following the first ODI, the media was able to field questions to the Indian coach Greg Chappell, and then West Indies captain Brian Lara, and century maker Chris Gayle.
Some verbatim excerpts from the press conference that followed the first ODI...
Greg Chappell: I hope so. We've worked hard on the process side of it knowing that there are certain things you must do to build partnerships, have wickets in hand and all of those things. I think we've become fairly disciplined in that area. We need to be a little bit more disciplined in the bowling area. We gave away too many extras today. That is one thing that we have been working on and will hope to rectify before the next game.
Did it surprise you to see how the Indian bowlers bowled in the initial overs?
We didn't start well but Chris [Gayle] batted very well, took a few risks and put the pressure on the bowlers and on that wicket ? it was a slowish wicket but a very easy paced, even wicket ? so he took a few risks and they came off and put the pressure on the bowlers and it knocked us back a little bit. But thankfully we regrouped and particularly Ajit [Agarkar] and Harbhajan [Singh] I thought bowled brilliantly, but all of the other bowlers came back well. It was just the initial spell that was disappointing and something that we hope we don't repeat.
Was it important to win the first game of this series?
It's better to start well in the series, and to get a win when we probably didn't play as well as we have been playing is satisfying in itself ,but we need to do some work in a few areas. But it is always nice to get off to a good start. I don't think it would have been terminal if we had not won the game.
The West Indies are at number 8. You are at number 2 [sic] in the world rankings. Do you ever take that into consideration at all?
Not really. In a two horse race it's a 50-50 bet. All the rankings tell you is what you've done in recent times. It doesn't tell you about the class and the quality of the team, and the West Indian side has got some class. They have just forgotten how to win at the moment and that takes a bit of practice and they have not had as much practice as we have had. If they had a little bit more success in recent times, they may have made it harder for us today, but we will take some credit for the win.[smiling]
Did the West Indies surprise you today?
Not really. We don't underrate them at all. There are a lot of class players in that side, and through history, they have been hard to beat in the West Indies so we don't underrate them at all. In fact, we see them as a side that could very quickly turn it around. They've got a lot of good athletes, they bowl well, they have got some real talent in their batting line up. Chris Gayle showed that today, Brian [Lara] we know can play. They have got three or four other guys who are good players so we can't afford to underestimate them at all.
How difficult is it to plan to bowl to a batsman like Gayle who has a variety of shots, some shots which he posses which probably other batsmen wouldn't have because of his height and abilities?
Exactly. He's a very talented player and we have to be careful. We know where not to bowl. Unfortunately we were not able to keep them out of that danger area as much as we would have liked today and he punished us, so we've got some homework to do there.
Did the closeness of this game remind you that maybe your team needs to be a little bit more conservative?
Oh no. I think we're happy with most of what we are doing. The West Indian team is a team that can hurt you. They will score runs quickly; they will take wickets quickly if they get a roll on, so as I said earlier, we don't underestimate them at all and we know they are a side that can hurt anyone.
One day cricket really is a pretty even race with most teams in probably the top eight teams in the world, any one of them can win on their day. One just has to be slightly off or the other one playing at the best of their ability and number eight can beat number two as we saw today.
Do you think that poor fielding caused you the game?
Brian Lara:I wouldn't call it poor fielding. I just think on occasions we could have done a little bit better. All in all, it was a very good game. It came down to the last two balls of the game so there are different areas that we can work on, not just the fielding department. Bowling, we bowled a lot of extra balls, a lot of wides and so on, so we have to work on that as well, and I feel maybe trying to score off a lot more balls. We scored 29 in the last five overs and we weren't even bowled out so you expect a little bit more than that in terms of balls left. You'd expect maybe 40 ? 45 runs.
Most of the game, you were in line with the Indians, no real advantages, a long shot from the Zimbabwians where you played so very well. You upped your game a little bit.
Yes, but I think people are not really paying us the respect. Yes, we are at the bottom in the big nations in cricket, but we still have a very good game, just a bit inconsistent, so performances like that is expected of our team. What we need to do is do it more consistently.
Apart from Chris' century, what are the positives that you will take into Saturday's game?
First of all, the game was played over 90 overs and India needed every last ounce of energy to beat us and I think we just need to work on a few things. We have a few weaknesses in this particular game and I think we have a lot more to work on than the Indians. If we can get that together over the next 24 hours, I am almost sure you are going to see an improved performance from us, not saying that there's not going to be an improved performance from the Indians, but I think we could take it another level and hopefully we can get a victory with that.
Against Zimbabwe, one fared easily. Now that you are faced with a pressure situation that the guys weren't able to handle the pressure. Greg Chappell just said that the West Indies perhaps don't know how to win. Is he correct in his assessment?
I wouldn't say so. You are saying we couldn't handle the pressure. I thought we handled it pretty well. With four overs to go, that over by Taylor was an exceptional effort. You can't be too hard on the guys. It's a situation where it was a great game. You wouldn't say that anybody played the better cricket. At the end India won but they know for a fact it was very very close and very competitive and could have gone any way and unfortunately it went for them but you know, things could improve and go our way next on Saturday.
Would you have batted first if you had won the toss?
You know??.I don't know. I think it was a situation where because of the overnight rain, you would expect there to be some moisture on the pitch and as the game went on, it got better. I thought we got a good total, but it actually played very well all through the day so India did benefit actually with the pitch drying out slightly.
Chris, this is your 12th one day century. How would you rate it?
Chris Gayle:I thought it was a good innings, being consistent against the India team from the home series in India. Having played Zimbabwe, coming off a few ups and downs in the series, I was looking forward to these games against India and it's a good start. Hopefully I can go on from strength to strength.
Wouldn't it have been better if you could have batted right through the 45 overs?
Yes, definitely, that was my aim but unfortunately I got out.
The first 50 you blazed away and then you settled down to play more responsibly. Was that a deliberate ploy on your part?
Yes, if you watched a couple of my innings against Zimbabwe, I started slow and I know that's not typically Chris Gayle so I decided to up the tempo a bit and be more aggressive at the top and after that I tried to build gradually an innings.
Normally your off-spin bowling is tight and flat and fast. What happened?
Well?.the captain only gave me three overs, I wanted to bowl more [said jokingly] but the Indians are good players of spin. I'm really looking forward to the challenge next game.
How special was it scoring in front of your home at Sabina Park?
I'm glad you mentioned that. Very special. First one day hundred at home, very pleasing, hopefully it is the start of many more to come so I am really pleased with that.
In the seven matches this season you have had about three different opening partners. Has that presented a challenge or it doesn't really make a difference?
It doesn't really make a difference. I have played cricket with all these guys and I know them well, so we have a good understanding. That makes it easier for us so it is no problem.