Fidel to mark 50th Test in Kolkata
Kolkata, India — Fidel Edwards gets excited every time he prepares to step onto the field for the West Indies. The Windies pacer, famous for his sling action and reverse swing, is as keen today as he was when he made his international debut as a 21-year-old rookie back in June 2003 against Sri Lanka at Sabina Park.
Today, he is doubly excited as he prepares for a significant milestone in his career. Monday’s second Test against India at Eden Gardens, Kolkata will be Edwards’ 50th Test and the 29-year-old wants to make it a “special one”.
First ball is 9 am (11.30 pm Sunday Eastern Caribbean Time/10.30 pm Jamaica Time).
“This will be my 50th Test and I’m looking to come up with a win and also take some wickets for the team. We are 1-0 down and we need a win to stay alive in this series. I would love to get among the wickets again and help the team to a win so we could leave here level, with all to play for in the last match in Mumbai,” he said.
“You have to be smart and think on your feet. As a bowler, hopefully you can get one to ‘fly’ and that puts doubts in the batsman’s mind. In the last match we pushed the Number 3 team and we will look to do the same again. What we have to get better at is capitalising when we have them down. We have a very young bunch here and for most of the guys, this series will be a learning curve”.
Edwards will become the first West Indian fast bowler in the post-Ambrose/Walsh era to play 50 Test matches. He has 151 wickets -- placing him 12th on the West Indies all-time list. His best bowling figures of 7-87 came against New Zealand in Napier in December 2008, when he reached his 100th Test wicket.
“When I started I didn’t really look at playing 50 Test matches or anything like that. I just focused on my game and getting better as a bowler. Now that I have achieved this milestone my next target is 200 wickets and after that 300 wickets. Overall, my target is to be the Number 1 fast bowler in the world and help West Indies climb the table (ICC Test match rankings) which is one of the team goals. We want to go back to the top,” said Edwards, whose brother Pedro Collins took 106 Test wickets.
Edwards’ first Test wicket back on June, 27 2003 was Mahela Jayawardena caught in the slips. On that day he took 5-36 off 15.4 overs to help set up a West Indies victory in three days. His 150th wicket was Sachin Tendulkar, leg-before wicket, at Feroz Shah Kotla last week.
His “best wicket” was his 151st - Rahul Dravid bowled with a perfectly planned piece of reverse swing. His most cherished moment was the win against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in Boxing Day Test of 2007. It was the West Indies’ first victory on South African soil.
Looking back at the Delhi Test he noted: “The Indian batsmen have scored runs all over and they are playing at home but once the ball starts to reverse, we can put them under pressure. The plan was to bowl as straight as possible and the ball started reversing and he got bowled. It was good for me,” he said.
“My first Test match was a special one back in Jamaica when I got five wickets. It was all a dream to me back then but over the years I have grown to understand more about the game and how it is played at this level.”
Edwards faced several challenges in his career but he has bounced back well. In June 2009 he suffered a career threatening injury. He was out of the game for over 18 months. He made his return to Test cricket earlier this year against India in the Digicel Series.
So far this year he played six Test matches and grabbed 29 wickets at an average of 25 each, at a strike rate of 40 balls per wicket. He has taken three-five wicket hauls -- the best of 5-63 in the win against Bangladesh in Dhaka two weeks ago.
“The injury was a setback but when I was out of the game I never thought of giving up. I never doubted myself. I was taking it stride by stride. The doctors and everyone involved in my rehab kept telling me I would be back and I came back much stronger. I was determined to make a full recovery and get back on the field for the West Indies. I’m now back on the field and I look forward to every day, whether it’s my 50th Test match or not,” he said.
West Indies Squad: Darren Sammy (captain), Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh, Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shiv Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford
Team Management Unit: Ottis Gibson (Head Coach), Richie Richardson (Team Manager), David Williams (Assistant Coach), Desmond Haynes (Batting Consultant), C.J Clark (Physiotherapist), Hector Martinez-Charles (Strength & Conditioning Co-ordinator), Richard Berridge (Video & Statistical Analyst), Philip Spooner (Media Manager), Virgil Browne (Massage Therapist)