New Zealand in West Indies 2014 June 4, 2014

Gibson hopeful of Gayle's fitness

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, is hopeful Chris Gayle will be fit for the first Test against New Zealand, which starts on June 8 in Kingston. Gayle had suffered a back injury after the World T20 in Bangladesh and missed a few games for his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2014. After his team's run in the T20 league ended, he travelled to Germany to consult a specialist for his injury.

"He's here. He was told he had to be at the camp on June 1," Gibson said. "He went to Germany to see a specialist so over there, he had some injections for his back. The specialist said he would need to take a couple of days rest and after which he should be able to take full part in cricket. The first Test match starts on June 8, so he has enough time to get enough cricket. He had a couple of hits in the nets today and he did some catching on the field, so he has enough time, once we get to Jamaica, to get himself settled down."

Apart from Gayle, the squad for the first Test also has fit-again pacers Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach and a spinner Sulieman Benn. Taylor and Roach returned from long injury layoffs, while Benn has not played a Test since December 2010.

Shane Shillingford, who was cleared for an international return after rectifying his bowling action, is likely to play his first Test since the suspension. With Sunil Narine absent from the squad, the spin-bowling department comprises Shillingford and Benn but Gibson was reluctant to commit to a two-spinner strategy in Jamaica.

"We have to get there first. What we do is we tend to get there first and see the conditions and then think of the make-up of the team," Gibson said. "We have three quality fast bowlers who have done well this week and two world-class spinners, with Benn coming back into the team after a long absence and Shane, who's had his issues with his bowling action and stuff. We are very happy we have two of those guys in our midst. If the wicket suits two spinners, then I guess two spinners can play. If not, we have three quality seamers that will take the field."

Gibson was pleased with the form of the batsmen and bowlers during the practice matches against local opposition, held as part of the preparatory camp in Barbados.

"Darren Bravo got a hundred in the first game, Kraigg [Brathwaite] came in and he got some runs yesterday. Shiv [Chanderpaul] spent some good time in the middle," he said. "The reason why we come here and prepare ourselves physically and then we do a lot of technical work is to make sure that when we get to Jamaica it is just about performing. In Jamaica, we will have a look at the conditions, the pitch we are likely to play on we pick the best possible team from the 13 guys we have and we work really hard and try and win the first Test match."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roy on June 6, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    Take a moment and imagine where could've been, if the top order batting had played together since they made the team. Guys like Gayle, Samuels, Sarwan and Shiv would've been a force to reckon with. Now many years later have to turn to the same guys and hope for their fitness so they can represent WI.

  • Dummy4 on June 5, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    Its good to see a somewhat stronger squad, than what we have been actually fielding in the last few test matches. Deonarine, Sammy, Gabriel are not meant for the top level and they have never proved us wrong. A good bowling attack with the likes of Taylor, Roach, Benn and Shillingford. It seems like a bowling attack that can actually pick up 20 wickets in a test match with some support from Samuels, Gayle etc. Batting is a little weak, but so has been the case since long. Players like Samuels, Edwards and Gayle need to stand up. We just cant hope that Shiv would get us out of trouble every time. But, a good team and I would surely want either Holder, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine to be included in the squad for the next match.

  • Android on June 5, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    @Ncnotorious I thought the ruling put Narine out if the three test match series? I wonder why his agent has'nt sought to get him a gig in England while the WI do not need him?

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    Let him finish is 100 and ask him to retire from tests. WI need to move from Gayle who is not committed to the cause like say Shivnarine...

  • Nabil on June 4, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    In one of the tests, Gabriel was unsure of how to even hold the ball to bowl swing. Holder can swing it both ways and deserves a spot before Gabriel, but I think they should go with Roach and Taylor, with 2 spinners Benn and Shillingford (Narine and Shillingford for the second test). My XI: Gayle, Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards, DM Bravo, Samuels, Shiv, Ramdin, Benn, Shillingford, Taylor, Roach Got to admit that the batting looks a little thin, excluding the legend Shiv and Darren.

  • Alexei on June 4, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    I agree with Josh, Holder deserves a place over Gabriel who hasnt done well at all in his last few test matches

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    What's with the Gayle dependency? I haven't seen a match defining innings from Gayle in recent times, time to move on you have to give other players an opportunity.

  • Joshua on June 4, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    Does Gibson really consider Gabriel a quality seamer? He doesn't have the accuracy, pace, bounce and movement to be effective at Sabina Park. I would have preferred Holder in his place but even so the pitch is going to be turning from day one.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    gud to see gayle is fit 100 test gud goal

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