West Indies in India 2013-14 October 9, 2013

Test team should build around Chanderpaul - Gibbs

Renaldo Matadeen

Former West Indies offspinner, Lance Gibbs, believes that the West Indies need to build their current team around Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the West Indies batsman, if Test success is to come into the frame once more, as November's India tour looms.

Gibbs indicated that Chanderpaul's experience and talent are the right ingredients to nourish younger batsmen such as Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo in the subcontinent. "Chanderpaul is one of our premier batsmen - the premier [one] actually," Gibbs said. "We need to bat around him and mature these inexperienced players in his presence. That maturity is not there right now but, as with many teams, we all have our ups and downs, but now we need to turn that proverbial corner which everyone always speaks of, every time we do well."

He backed Darren Sammy as Test skipper but noted that for Dwayne Bravo to continue the strides of West Indies' T20 world title last year, and in hopes of improving their results in the 50-over game, Bravo needs to improve as limited-overs skipper. "Dwayne tries to do too much. He needs to focus on certain areas and not try to do so much. We saw his death bowling exposed in the CPL, but I have faith in him as much as I know Sammy will deliver in India. The squad's a good mix. Hungry and young too."

With the likes of Kirk Edwards and Narsingh Deonarine impressing during the present A team tour in India, Gibbs reiterated that there was a good blend of youth and experience in the Sammy-led 15-man squad, which also faces New Zealand in a hectic run-in to end 2013.

"We haven't played Tests in a while but the state of our cricket and Test team isn't too bad. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh were good to practice against in the last year, and we did improve. Each nation goes through these motions in the sport and we as a team need to move from strength to strength. Let's play good cricket and get the fundamentals right. You can see a team like England and say they're the best, but it's only in the past few years they've stepped up so I'm confident in the Windies."

When asked if T20 cricket had hampered the progress and development of the region's youngsters, and even star players such as Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, he said that players should play all disciplines. With the aforementioned players still to make Test waves in recent months, Gibbs added that he didn't think the lore of Tests or romance of ODI cricket had dissipated. "It's an evolution of the game. Test cricket is the ultimate, but we have to roll with the times for the sake of the crowds. T20 has given exciting cricket as seen in the IPL and CPL, but remember, Test cricket stands on its own."

"We all start off in the Caribbean playing 10, 20 or 40-overs, then we develop our 50-over game, our county cricket and as first-class players. Things change and we can't look back, only forward. Players make a living from this now and back in the day, footballers, cricketers, boxers and such were barely making money but now, all kinds of sports are lucrative once you have the talent."

He indicated that once the talismans of the sport gave back to the game, things would bode well. He referenced the CPL's youngsters rubbing shoulders with various West Indies and international stars, which acted as a nursery to their learning and growth earlier this year. "CPL had stars from Pakistan, Bangladesh and New Zealand come over so I think we're well-prepped for what's to come ahead."

West Indies will play two Tests and three ODIs, with the first Test match set to start on November 6.

Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Again, age has nothing to do with cricket, so long one could see the ball clearly and make run that is matter. Chandrapal should pay until he could score runs.

  • Mohamed on October 10, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Mr. Lance Gibbs is wrong, but it's not his fault. Problem is that WI selectors have no patience. Youngsters with promining careers have been discarded way too early. Bharat scored a century vs Aus in Aus at the time when Aus was the toughest and few others played well is Aus. Yet, he was soon discarded after an injury. Bishoo played his heart out and bowled the most of any WI vs India, Pak, SL and Ind again and was named emerging player of the year only to be discarded after one bad match. Fuadin has impressed, yet is never given a chance. Narine is best spinner in WI, but is not in the test team. Gibbs is wrong about WI cricket.. we used to play 4 day matches before going to 40 overs in years past. In Guyana, 4 days matches were played over 2 weekend many times in old days to facilitate players with regular jobs, hence players were conditioned for longer matches. Today, T/20 comes 1st and few ever play 4 day matches.

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    The tiger should play for however long he remains fit and in form. Hopefully, his temperament and approach to batting will rub off on the younger ones.

  • nikhil on October 9, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    the current windies team can defeat india in india because the way in which the current A team is playing and majority of the A players are going to feature in the test squad as well. So this is a golden chance for windies to defeat india in india.

  • John on October 9, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    I'm not sure how long Lance Gibbs thinks the building will take, but if it's around Chanderpaul it had better be quick. He's 39 now.

  • A-Gunnie on October 9, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    I agree somewhat however,there aren't too much to pick from.Not many has shown the potential to bat as a test batsman should.For that reason I do agree with Mr. Gibbs comments relating the Tiger and especially about Dwayne Bravo.Sammy has put the W.I back on track in the last couple years so why not let the man reap some satisfaction from his efforts.

  • Steve on October 9, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    I have nothing but respect for Chanderpaul, but I think selecting him is a backward step by WI selectors. They must blood new players even if it means unfavorable results in the short term. Same goes with Sammy's captaincy. He did a great job of holding the team together in the last 2/3 yrs, but WI need a more enterprising captain. They need to groom a younger captain who has potentially 6-10 yrs top level cricket ahead of him.

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