Focus on tests

West Indies players getting in some early morning jogging.

DHAKA – West Indies captain Darren Sammy has stressed that following their T20 World Championship success, their immediate goal is to improve their status as a Test-playing nation.Speaking ahead of their first training session this morning, Sammy said that just like the team pushed itself to win the World Twenty20, it would be doing the same on the tour. Bangladesh is ranked below the regional side in the Test standings.

“It is more of a belief factor. We have played some good series over the years where we were competing against high-ranked teams, now we believe we can be even more competitive and get results over higher-ranked teams,” Sammy said in Mirpur. “We have a team goal which we want to achieve but this is going to be a step-by-step process.

“It’s important to come here and win matches and it’s a challenge we put on ourselves. Just like we forced ourselves to try and win the T20 World Cup, we achieved that and we are now looking forward to the next series which is against Bangladesh. We believe we can achieve our goals.”

Between their last series in Bangladesh, where they won the Test series 1-0 and the ODIs 2-1, West Indies have lost three Test series but there have been plenty of positives, chiefly the strength in the leadership. Sammy however believes nothing much has changed in the last 12 months.

“My role as a captain has not changed. Every player is aware of what their roles are in the team. Last year I have excelled in the role the team expects me to play, and I don’t see any difference this year.

“We just got to bring all our players together and go down and perform on the cricket field. That’s where the performance counts.”

Sammy believes that the success since last October has also made the team stronger, though the return of Chris Gayle has also helped matters.

“We have definitely improved as a team. A number of players have come on board and we are a little bit more consistent.”We beat New Zealand in both Tests and performances came from different players. We come here with one mission: to win all three series in Bangladesh.”

Sammy said the return of opener Chris Gayle and batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was likely to give the West Indies the edge in the series. The West Indies won a two-Test series in Bangladesh last year, with Gayle not selected due to his differences with the Caribbean board.

“We have young players like (Darren) Bravo and Kirk Edwards had a good series here,” said Sammy of Edwards who scored a century and fifty in the West Indies’s 229-run win in the second Test in Dhaka last year.

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