West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor received a vote of confidence from his captain Chris Gayle on his 25th birthday on Monday.
With key fast bowler Fidel Edwards out of the West Indies 13 man squad with a back injury, Gayle publicly alerted Taylor that his performance with the new ball will be critical in the Digicel ODI Series against India starting today at Sabina Park, Jamaica.
‘Hopefully Jerome can be strong for us in this Digicel ODI Series, he has a big part to play,’ Gayle told the media at the Norman Manley International Airport in Jamaica as the players returned from their lengthy sojourn to England.
It may have been an odd birthday gift for Taylor as he travelled from a chilly England to the familiar warmth of the Caribbean.
Delighted to be back on home soil, the ever cool Taylor took the captain’s comments in stride, saying he is ready for the task at hand.
‘Fast bowling is my job and I’ve been doing it for quite some time now, it’s a matter of getting your repetitions right over and over again,’ Taylor said while saying that returning to his homeland to be with friends and family was enough of a birthday gift for him.
And he believes that the absence of the experienced duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag who have made careers of mauling bowling attacks the world over, will be a clear advantage for the home side which will be reliant on a young bowling attack.
‘Tendulkar and Sehwag are world class players and that would ease the pressure somewhat on us but we won’t take anything for granted. We are going out there to give the best of ourselves and to make the Caribbean proud.
‘You have quality players in the India team. At the end of the day it’s still a cricket match, you have to go out on the park, keep a cool head and give the best of yourself.’
Taylor likes to prepare for matches by listening to calming music in his hotel room after training sessions.
The quickie who debuted in international cricket as a fragile but fluid 18-year-old in 2003 feels that while the team has been improving in terms of consistency in the recent past, some more patience is needed for even better results.
‘You have players who are young and new to the team and it is going to take some time for them to settle in and prepare their minds mentally, I think the team is on the right path right now and we are looking forward to good things ahead.’
Taylor will have fellow pacemen Ravi Rampaul and Lionel Baker along with left arm spinner Sulieman Benn and medium pace all rounders Dwayne Bravo and Dave Bernard Jr. Gayle will also lend support with his dart-like off spin.
The four match Digicel Series continues with the Second Digicel ODI on Sunday and then move to the Beausejour Cricket Grounds in St Lucia for the final two Digicel ODIs.
For match pictures, reports and stats visit www.digicelcricket.com