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“I’ve been speaking to Richard Pybus (Director of Cricket) about getting together a core group of players to target the 50-over World Cup, getting some fitness done and making sure those guys are at the peak of their fitness”
West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson has announced that it is time for the national team to shift their focus towards preparing for the 2015 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Gibson’s comments come after the West Indies failed to retain their World Twenty20 title as they were knocked out by Sri Lanka in a rain-affected semi-final.
“I’ve been speaking to Richard Pybus (Director of Cricket) about getting together a core group of players to target the 50-over World Cup, getting some fitness done and making sure those guys are at the peak of their fitness,” Gibson said. “All those [series] are opportunities to start to formulate a team or a squad of players that will then become the basis of the team that is likely to play in the World Cup, and get those guys playing together as often as possible.
“It would give captain [Dwayne] Bravo an opportunity to work with this group of players and get a brand of cricket that he wants to play developed and strong, so that by the time we get to the World Cup next year, the guys are ready to peak again and have a real good go at winning a world title.”
Gibson also revealed that he and Pybus will be picking a 30-man preliminary squad to start off with.
“You have to look at where we are going and then you look at the people that we have in the Caribbean that are likely to succeed in those conditions and give them the opportunity to play,” he said. “You will have a World Cup 30-man squad but by now there will be a core group of 15-20 players that you will be looking to choose from and give opportunities to, and whittle it down. You have to get that 15-man squad playing as much cricket together as possible and start to develop some cohesiveness.”
Even though the West Indies have not won the World Cup since winning the first two editions of the tournament in 1975 and 1979, Gibson noted that he sensed “a hunger inside the team” that he has not seen before.
“I think the taste of winning a world title in Sri Lanka [in 2012] has given everybody a fantastic appetite for it [winning titles],” he said. “We know what it takes, we know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and commitment to the cause and that’s what we are starting to see now.”