West Indies v Zimbabwe, 1st Test, Barbados March 12, 2013

Gibson happy with West Indies' 'settled' batting

ESPNcricinfo staff

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson is pleased to have the team's batting strengthened by the return of Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle, as they bid to extend their winning run in Test cricket. West Indies will take on Zimbabwe in the first of two Tests in Barbados from Tuesday, and if they win the match they would have won five Tests in a row for the first time since 1988-89.

"Having Marlon back is great news for us. The injury was unfortunate, but he has been a big player for us in the last 12 months or so, the main batsman in all formats," Gibson said. "Chris is a quality player, we have no doubt he will perform for us. He has done it many times before and we know he will be confident going into this series."

Samuels is returning to competitive cricket for the first time in two months, after suffering a facial injury in Australia's Big Bash League, while Gayle had asked for a break during the limited-overs leg of the Zimbabwe series.

Talking about the make-up of the squad, Gibson pointed out that since the batting line-up is a "settled" one, there is no place for veteran batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan at the moment despite the form he showed in the second ODI against Zimbabwe. He is being given time to prove - through his domestic form - that he deserves a spot in the Test line-up, Gibson said. "If you look at the batting at the moment, the line up seems to be settled. We played five batsmen in Bangladesh and made a lot of runs. It's hard to fit him in but at the same time we know his quality.

"At the moment, for him, it's just about getting back and getting confident, and once he gets used to getting runs again in regional cricket … I would like to think that once there is a spot available, he would find himself in that spot."

Sarwan made a comeback for West Indies in February, on the limited-overs tour of Australia, after 18 months away due to issues with the team management.

Offspinner Sunil Narine - who had poor returns on West Indies' previous Test assignment, with three wickets in two matches against Bangladesh at 114.33 - was rested rather than dropped from the Test squad, according to Gibson. Narine still had a part to play across formats, he said. "I think he [Narine] was [considered for selection]. The selectors, from my understanding, thought that since he has come into international cricket, he has played every format and they wanted to give him a break more from the intensity of cricket, to let him get back and start to enjoy his cricket a little bit more.

"He is playing for Trinidad and obviously enjoying it, getting wickets and stuff like that. He is young to international cricket and I'm sure he is somebody that has a huge part to play for us in all formats."

Captain Darren Sammy said he was confident his team had the "upper hand" going into this Test series. "We're ready, our preparations have been spot on," he said. "We have been very professional and disciplined in all we have done so far.

"The guys are coming in from playing [domestic] four-day cricket so everyone should be settled and ready to take on the Zimbabweans. Kemar [Roach] and Marlon [Samuels] did not play in the last round of the Regional Four-Day tournament, but they played for the Sagicor High Performance Centre over the weekend [in Zimbabwe's warm-up game] so they got in their preparation as well."

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  • Carson on March 12, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    It is time we start calling a spade a spade. Darren Sammy who plays as a strike bowler has taken 76 wickets in 31 tests/56 innings. In that time he has taken four 5 wicket hauls and one four wicket haul. In other words he has taken 24 wickets in 5 of those 56 innings he has bowled. So Darren Sammy has taken 52 wickets in the remaining 51 test innings he has bowled. That is one wicket per innings. That is the stuff of a part-time bowler. Not a strike bowler. His strike rate of 72.2 should tell the selectors that. Going at Sammy's strike rate WI would need to bowl 120 overs to get 10 wickets!!!! What kind of strike bowler is that!!!!

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    totally agree with sirviv1973. and furthermore while the top 5 in this team is settled, there is no way the team is. can w.i get away with using sammy and ramdin @ 6 and 7??? given the fact that they average less than 30 with the bat not really. so this will affect the bowling lineup against better teams when an extra bowler like gabriel/best/shillingford /permaul would be left out to accomodate sammy being chosen as a bowling allrounder rather than a batting one.

  • rajesh on March 12, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    @mohamedamin: i was just thinking that DJ Bravo is a far better all rounded than Sammy, but I believe that Sammy is a better captain and motivator. Recall in the limited over series that DJB mentioned that Narine was upset with him because he set an attacking field for him against his wishes and he went for over 50 runs in his 10 overs. That says something. It doesn't mean that DJB can't learn to be a better captain, I think he should be made ODI skipper. I would be a bit sad to see Sammy dropped, I think he has taken the poisoned chalice and thrived as team leader, batsman and bowler. His stats show that.

    He could still stand to be replaced though; bring in said DJB and make someone else captain, Ramdin e.g.

  • Dean on March 12, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    WI got away with the selection of Ramdin at 6 in Ban & will no doubt do so again against Zim, although I doubt they will do so when the play Pak in a few mths time. Ramdin's recent record suggests that finally after nearly a decade in & out of side he may be able to fulfill the role he was originally chosen for which was to score enough runs to justify batting at 7 & keeping wicket. DR is no one's idea of a no6 in test cricket & is clearly being used by Gibson to help prolong Sammy's run as captain. For the last few yrs Sammy has been keeping a bowler out of the side, with his promotion to 7 he is now keeping a batsman out of the side. If Sammy could ave 30+ & WI had both a keeper who could bat 6 & ave 35+ & a bowler who could bat 8 & ave low 20s then the balance of the team would be fine but WI have none of the above, so it is high time DS was moved aside. He is a likable guy & should stay capt in ltd overs cricket where his style of batting & bowling is far more effective.

  • adit on March 12, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    Gibson is not applying the rules fairly across the board. If Sarwan dispite his return to form with a ODI century is not considered and needs to prove himself how come Sammy with mediocre performances with bat and ball is in the team. If this is not favoritism then tell me what is. The WI board in their folly returned Gibson as coach for another term. They will have to live with his antics. I hope there is a change with the board presidency as if Hunte is returned then only God can take WI forward from here. Insularity will do more harm to the WI team.

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    Sarwan should open with Gayle. Narine in for Shillingford. DJ Bravo (capt) in for Darren Sammy. That's a balanced team Otis

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Well done selectors, good job. finally you have given us a team that fits on the test match scale.. This a is a team capable of beating any other team. Only one thing, replace Deonorine, with Sarwann next time. This is going to be alot of fun,, Sammy batting at #6, if he can't hold that position, he'll be out, for there is no way can he play ahead of any of these bowlers, Very good bowling attack..thank you selectors

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    Look man Sammy is not my favorite choice for captain, but this is a very well balanced team..Sammy would have to prove his worth in the team now.. he now have to score and not only score, but bat lengthly innings, no more 40 in 25 balls faced.. it's going to be hard for him to maintain his place as test captain..

  • Mohamed on March 12, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    Seriously, "settled"...How can the line up be settled and you have a passenger who is captain in the team.....Where is the balance??? In no day Sammy deserves to play ahead of DJ Bravo.....

  • Reagan on March 12, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    Narine still had a part to play across formats, he said. "I think he [Narine] was [considered for selection]....you think??? When you are certin that he was considered please let us know. As a coach you should know.

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