Too early to call says Gibson
LEICESTER, England – Ottis Gibson said on Sunday it was too early to make decisions about the composition of the West Indies side for the third and final Test against England, starting on Thursday at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
The Windies coach was speaking after rain severely scuppered his team’s plans for vital match practice and a chance to assess a few reserve players.
Not a ball was bowled on the final day of the two-day tour match against Leicestershire at Grace Road, where the visitors were to resume on 150 for three in their first innings.
“You can practise as much as you want in the nets, but it’s time spent in the middle that is invaluable for batsmen and for bowlers,” said Gibson.
“For the likes of [Assad] Fudadin and [Narsingh] Deonarine, who haven’t had any cricket yet, it’s a tough call.”
He added: “It’s one we’ll have to make when we get to Edgbaston and look at the pitch and decide what sort of make-up of the team we want to go in with.
“If it’s worth the risk – it will be tough on the guy who hasn’t played any cricket to go and play in these conditions, but we have a squad of 15 and all 15 should expect to play.”
Despite the setback, Gibson said West Indies would continue to hard work to be ready to challenge England again in the final Test.
“When you look at how much good stuff we've done in the Test matches, one session, or sometimes 1 ½ sessions of poor decision-making by batsmen, or sometimes by the bowlers, have cost us at crucial times,” he said.
“You look at the amount of people that haven’t played in these conditions before, and the challenge we posted to England in the first Test [at Lord’s] especially.
“You look at the way we bowled on the third day [in the second Test] at Trent Bridge, getting eight wickets for 169 runs was excellent – but to challenge the No.1 team in the World you have to deliver that excellence more consistently – and that’s where we’ve been falling down.”
Gibson also played down England’s decision to rest James Anderson for the Test.
“If they rest six players and we win, it’s still West Indies vs England and we don’t really care how many people they rest,” he said.
“The more the merrier for us. They have other priorities and I suppose you can see that, but we’ll play anybody they put on the park.”
Gibson warned his players that they should not rejoice that Anderson has been sidelined for the Test.
“We haven’t made any substantial runs as a batting side for people to be resting on their laurels,” he said.
“We still have batsmen that have to prove they can play cricket in these conditions, so they still need to work very hard to ensure they are in the right frame of mind.”
Gibson concluded: “Steven Finn has had a very good stint in Test cricket since he’s come on board, Graham Onions made his debut against West Indies in 2009 and got five wickets at Lord’s, so England are fortunate to have such a good array of fast bowlers to choose from at the moment.
“Whoever they bring in it will still be tough, but we’re trying to salvage some pride, and 2-1 would sound far better than 3-0.”