Like his Indian counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni, West Indies skipper Darren Sammy said his team was trying to "block out" all the distractions due to Sachin Tendulkar's retirement frenzy and concentrate on cricket. Speaking to reporters here on Tuesday, Sammy said West Indies were better prepared and will play good cricket in the two-Test series starting at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.
"We have come back here much more experienced since we lost 2-0 here. We are in a better frame of mind and better prepared now. Glad to get the opportunity to play versus India in a series that will bring curtains down on Sachin's career," said Sammy.
Kolkata has been in grip of Tendulkar mania since the 40-year-old will be playing his 199th and penultimate Test in the City of Joy. Since Sunday night, the celebrations have overshadowed almost everything cricket and both teams are trying to keep the focus on the game. "Sachin deserves all this hype... but we are trying to block out all the distractions and deliver five days of exciting cricket," said Sammy.
West Indies will be banking on their bowlers to make an impression against a strong Indian batting line-up. With the Eden wicket expected to a slow turner, Sammy said getting 10 wickets twice will be crucial. Off-spinner Shane Shillingford will be crucial to Sammy's scheme of things. "Shillingford has been bowling a lot. For Tests, we need someone patient. This Test will pose a big challenge but one that we are ready for," said Sammy.
The visitors played a three-day practice match in Kolkata last week. Shivnarine Chanderpaul slammed a century while Narsingh Deonarine, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels scored fifties. "We got what we wanted from the practice game. It was about getting used to the red ball," said Sammy.
The last time India and West Indies clashed in a Test match at the Eden, the home team thrashed the visitors by an innings and 15 runs. Sammy wants to set the record straight this time.