[SPORTS]:::West Indies battling pride

No. 63 Monday, March 8, 2010
Ottis Gibson's tenure as West Indies coach could not have begun on a worse note. In his two internationals at the helm, his team has slumped to unprecedented lows - a defeat in the very first Twenty20 between the sides, and an ODI loss for the first time against Zimbabwe at home.

    The series was meant as an opportunity to cast aside the memories of a winless tour of Australia and begin a fresh phase with a dose of success. But the performance in the first am in Providence, where three batsmen - Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin and Dwayne Smith - played irresponsibly to bungle a winnable position presents the hosts with a renewed headache.
    The trio played poor shots to be dismissed, and poor running between the wickets cost Andre Fletcher and Narsingh Deonarine. It was the middle order that led the resistance, though in­adequate, against Australia in the 0-4 loss, but the trend was reversed on Thursday, with the same personnel wilting under pressure on a sluggish track.
    For starters, Chris Gayle's blunt description of the middle-order collapse as 'crap' is a step in the right direction. He acknowledged Zimbabwe's. competitive­ness, but his own team's failure to measure up would have hit the confidence of a man who, not too long ago, had aimed at a 4-1 win against Australia.
    Amid poor crowds and declining form, West In­dies are battling for pride against an opposition which, with each successful outing, is shoring up the resolve
and determination to return from self-imposed exile.

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