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Sunday, May 8, 2011

'I'm still looking to lead the West Indies attack'

Jerome Taylor bends his back during practice, Jamaica, June 25, 2009Jerome Taylor was one of the leading fast-bowling prospects for West Indies when success in domestic cricket won him an international debut at the age of 18 in 2003. Rising to become the side's spearhead in 2006 and demolishing England at Sabina Park in 2009, he has sparkled off and on, but injuries have taken their toll, limiting him to just 29 Tests. Coming off another layoff from international cricket (he wasn't picked for the World Cup), he is now playing for the Pune Warriors in the IPL, shaping up to get back into the reckoning for national selection. .

How much has the back problem hurt your aspirations?
It might have affected the goals I set early, but those can be altered as you go along. I'm still aspiring to lead the West Indies attack and be among the players who can bring back the glory days. Coming here will give me that boost mentally to go back and play again. I came here with an injury and to date that has been sorted and I'm happy to be bowling again.
Is the IPL a platform for you to break into the national side?
Coming here is just to make sure that I give a good account of myself. I was supposed to play in the IPL in 2009 and 2010, but have only come here in 2011. I've had a belated start due to injury but since I've started playing here, I've felt better with each game. Coming here has been the best thing that has happened in the last two years. Since I've been here, the medical team and I have been working on it and I'm finding that I'm feeling much better after bowling. I just want to make sure I do the right things, and ensure the people who are looking on can see. As far as the national team is concerned, once I can make sure that I'm fitter and stronger and putting in the work to get back to full fitness, the rest will work itself out.
How fit are you at the moment?
At this point my body is feeling good. I won't say I'm 100% fit as yet but fit enough to play and will get fitter as I continue to play. You just can't wait until you are totally pain-free and 100% fit to start playing. You have to gradually ease your way back in. You have to know your pain barrier and how much pain you can play with. I have never been 100% fit. I always have niggles but they are workable, so I manage them and play with them.
Has the injury had an effect on your pace? Have you had to modify your action?
I've lost some pace and have tweaked my action a little bit, but that was way back in 2003. Since then there haven't been any changes - though the injuries have recurred.
Moving the ball is my main weapon right now. As a fast bowler, you need to bring something to the table on these surfaces. I do have to maintain a certain pace. I don't want to get it too low. As you go along, age might take its toll on your body, and you focus more on moving the ball about.
There have been differences between senior players, who were left out of the start of the limited-overs series against Pakistan, and the board. What do you think is the way forward?
West Indies cricket has been declining somewhat for a while. I don't think it'll help the situation if the seniors are left out and only juniors are playing. You are playing against tough teams. You have India going to the Caribbean soon. So you need to have some of the senior players, if not most, around, so that the youngsters can feed off their experience. We need to ensure that we have the right balance and combination.
We're not here to just play cricket and represent West Indies; we need people who can actually compete. We're winning games but we need to start winning series and tournaments. We need to make sure that we're seriously challenging teams and pushing them close. That'll help us get better. The wins won't be far away then, and it'll help us repay the faith of our fans in the Caribbean.
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