Recovering Gabriel warns England of more pace

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West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel believes the West Indies should play to their strength and replicate the plans which brought them overwhelming success against England last year.

The 32-year-old played a major part in that win as the home side toppled their opponents 2-1 to capture the Wisden Trophy for the first time in a decade. Now, fast forward to 2020 and the West Indies are in England to face the home side in three Test matches.

“I don’t think the plans should change too much from what we did in the Caribbean. We used pace and that worked. What we did was successful. I don’t think we should fix anything that is not broken,” Gabriel said.

He was speaking to members of the media via Zoom link on Thursday afternoon.

A veteran of 45 Tests since his debut at Lords in 2012, Gabriel is among the reserves for this tour, but is confident he can regain full fitness following ankle surgery. He has been outstanding in the last three years and in presently in the Top 20 of the ICC Test Match Bowling rankings. His career-best match figures of 13-121 – third best in West Indies history – came against Sri Lanka in Saint Lucia two years ago.

West Indies will have two inter-squad warm-up matches in Manchester before they travel to Southampton. All 25 players on tour will participate. The three-day match will be played from Tuesday, June 23 to Thursday, 25 and the four-day match from Monday, June 29 to Thursday, July 2.

“After being away from the game so long, almost six or seven months, you are kind of hungry to get back on the field. I’m looking forward to the warm-up games and then we will take it from there. I’ve played a few Test matches before, so I know how to prepare,” Gabriel said. “The last time I played (for West Indies) was the India series (last September) in Jamaica. I want to play I want to be ready to play against England. I’m fully motivated. If you’re playing for your country and you’re not motivated, you really should be on the field. This is not about half-hearted. You have to be all in.”

“It’s a good experience,” he said. “There are a lot of young fast bowlers coming through which is exciting for West Indies cricket. So rather than just get myself prepared, I’m trying to lend any knowledge and experience onto them that they can take into their game. The ankle is good at the moment, no pain, no aches. I’m about 85-90 percent fit, but in terms of bowling fitness and match readiness, I still have some more work to do to hit my rhythm, but there are still three weeks and two warm-up games before the first Test match.”

The West Indies squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety. The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.

Wisden Trophy Test Schedule

July 8-12: 1st Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton

July 16-20: 2nd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

July 24-28: 3rd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

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