West Indies must not squander their six appeal, says Ottis Gibson


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If England go down in the one-day series against West Indies it will be under a blaze of sixes. There is a huge difference between the sides in terms of big hitting which suggests that one of them might be playing calypso cricket and the other has trouble upping the ante from a dirge.

The tourists' probable top seven batsmen have struck a total of 418 sixes in one-day internationals compared to the home side's 99. Taking into account the difference in numbers of matches played, West Indies average 0.58 a match compared to England's 0.26.

It is a feature of which Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, is well aware, as he explained yesterday without being too confident about the likely pattern of the matches.

"We're always talking about who hits the biggest sixes and stuff like that," he said. "A lot of those guys are more than capable of hitting it out of the ground but if you try it and you get caught on the boundary and the team needs you to hang round a bit it's not so great, so it's finding the right balance."

The biggest difference may be in the sides' top threes, who will have to take advantage of the mandatory power play. England's trio of Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott have hit 20 sixes in 197 matches between them, or 0.10 a match. West Indies' threesome of Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo have struck 213 in 298 matches, or 0.71.

The series begins at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton tomorrow, and last night some tickets were still available.