Stuart Law: Playing No. 1-ranked India a huge task

The outgoing West Indies coach says that West Indies has its plans against India, which, he reckons, will be tough to beat at home.

Stuart Law says West Indies is "getting better and better" ahead of a two-Test series against the No. 1-ranked India.   -  Getty Images

On paper, it is a clash of the uneven. But in a game of glorious uncertainties like cricket, such comparisons seldom hold true.

Perhaps, that’s what West Indies coach, Stuart Law is keeping in mind ahead of the first Test, which gets underway at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium from Thursday.

While the Aussie coach, who is on his last assignment with the West Indies team, knows it well that beating India at home is an uphill task, he appears confident.

“We have talked a lot, but it is time now to stop talking. It is time the boys show what they have got on the field. Touring India has always been tough for teams. We have to show the world that we can play the game and grab hold of those opportunities,” Law said on Tuesday.

Read: Kemar Roach to miss first Test

The Australian, who will join Middlesex after the tours of India and Bangladesh, is also optimistic that the extreme weather conditions — Rajkot was boiling at 37 degrees on Tuesday — will not be a problem for his team. “We spent good eight days (in Dubai) before we came to India. It was 45 degrees during the day in Dubai, so heat here won’t be an issue. Then, we had a good couple of days in Baroda (only tour warm-up), the pitch was similar looking to what I see here today,” Law said.

As he appears confident, Law is also not too keen to read too much into India’s form in England. And, his reason is simple: “I was there watching pretty closely. It was a lot closer than the 1-4 score-line. England were just able to win the crucial moments.”

“India are the number one side, we are further down the ladder (ranked eighth). We are playing in their own backyard, it is a huge task. Not many teams have come here and won. We understand that but, on the flipside, we are getting better and better,” Law made it clear.

The last time West Indies won a Test series against India was at home in 2002, and since then, it has lost six straight series against the Men in Blue.

That, however, is a not a concern for Law.

Having watched Indian batsmen closely in the England series, the West Indies coach knows how the openers struggled against the moving ball. And to make things tougher for the host, even West Indies plans to unleash a spin attack. “Moeen Ali really took to India in England, bowling into footholes. We got to use what is available. Roston Chase is a bit taller than Ali, bowls at similar pace. Devendra Bishoo and Jomel Warrican have got some good control as well. Pace has been our strong point, but the spinners can also do the job,” the 49-year-old said.

But then, will it be that easy to make Virat Kohli struggle at home?

Law admits, it will be tough.

“He is great in other countries and not just in India. Kohli is a great batsman. Like I said it is not bowling to the name, it is about bowling to the batsman, then your job becomes a bit easier. And he is not the only one in the batting line up. You guys have got billions of people to choose from and the batters who are coming through are the best in the world,” he said.

The ‘very Indian’ guy from Guyana

When he joined the side in February last year, Law knew the job will be tough. But even then, the Aussie is happy with the way things have gone since then. “It has been a fantastic two years. They are a great bunch of guys. I consider them as my sons if you like. They try, don't shy away from hard work which we had to instill in them and it is beginning to show in results. But we would have liked far more positive results. The result that I am actually seeing now is that we are preparing better and executing better,” he said.

As a rather long series begins in the next couple of days, not many are putting their money on West Indies. And that’s something Law plans to cash in on. “We have got our plans obviously and the boys have to show it in front of fanatical crowds against the World No.1 team. Something we should enjoy and not fear.”