The Caribbean Media Corporation
Former West Indies coach Roger Harper is calling for lively pitches during
the forthcoming Cable & Wireless series to encourage the West Indies
seamers against Sri Lanka.
Harper, who coached West Indies for three years until the 2003 World Cup
in March, believes pitch preparation will be a key factor in the series,
since Sri Lankan ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will flourish on flat
I would like to see us quicken up our pitches here and really give
seam bowlers some assistance, because Muralitharan on a flat pitch is going
to be a dangerous bowler, Harper said during CMCs CricketPlus
Lunch-Time Show on Sunday.
Harper, currently doing duties as Head Coach at the 2003 Shell Cricket
Academy, said more bouncy pitches would benefit the West Indies take away
a clear advantage the visitors would have on docile tracks.
Our bowlers would not be that threatening on a flat pitch.
I think if we prepare some lively pitches it will even things out
a bit, it may not give Muralitharan that much assistance, help our bowlers,
and I think that will enable us to do a lot better, Harper said.
Wisden, widely regarded as the bible of cricket publications, recently
rated Muralithiran the greatest Test bowler of all time.
The West Indies face Sri Lanka in three One-day International (ODI) matches
starting this weekend with back-to-back games in Barbados
and two Test matches.
Harper said the Sri Lankans are tough and should not be underestimated.
I think its going to be a very tough series and I think its
important that we remain very focused, he said.
Harper hinted that the West Indies, fresh from facing the world's best
team Australia, should guard against any fade in intensity against the
I certainly think that coming on the back of the Australian series,
it was a long, long season, that we have to be sharp, we have to be fully
We cant afford to underrate the Sri Lankan team at all,
said the 40-year-old Guyanese.
Harper, who played 25 Tests and 105 ODIs for the West Indies from 1983
to 1996, added that the West Indies are capable of defeating Sri Lanka
if they play to their full potential.
If we play as well as we are capable of playing, we should be able
to handle them, but I think we need to give the bowlers every opportunity
to get the job done by putting some life in the pitches, he said.
The West Indies lost both Test (1-3) and ODI (3-4) fixtures against the
Australians but finished the two series with magnificent wins.
They go into the ODIs against Sri Lanka, coming off three consecutive
victories over the Australians, snapping a world record 21-game winning
streak by the World Cup holders.