Gibson is looking for the West Indies to start climbing up the Test rankings
Following the West Indies’ win against Sri Lanka in the final of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, head coach Ottis Gibson has announced that the next aim for the national team is to become ranked as one of the top five nations in Test cricket.
The West Indies are currently ranked seventh, ahead of New Zealand and Bangladesh, who will be their opponents in the upcoming series starting on November 13.
In April, the West Indies lost 2-0 at home to Australia before heading to England to be defeated by the same margin.
However, in the last few months, they have been able to turn their fortunes around by whitewashing New Zealand and winning the World Twenty20.
“We have had a pretty solid 2012 so far so we want to finish on a winning note, the aim is to find ways of moving up the (Test rankings) table. Because Bangladesh are below us, we will only be playing for two or three points. Our aim is to break into the top five in the next 12 months if possible,” Gibson said.
But, the West Indies have been dealt a huge blow after pace bowler Kemar Roach was ruled out of the series against Bangladesh due to a hamstring injury, which led to Fidel Edwards earning a recall back into the national team.
Gibson noted that Roach’s injury was a prime example of how the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) must manage the workload of their national players, while also keeping a constant track of their fitness and conditioning.
“Last year during the regional tournament we took steps asking the regional boards to rest certain players who we felt needed a break. Roach’s situation is unfortunate since he is on a very long break, since New Zealand, he got hurt playing three weeks ago but didn’t report it to anybody. In the past a lot of guys may have gone on tour with that injury, and if the injury happens in the first Test the team is a man short. We’re trying to guard against that sort of stuff happening. You look at the amount of cricket these days, especially T20, a time will come when we need to tell a player or a regional board that this particular player needs a break. You put him in a strength and conditioning program. It’s a realistic possibility that we could do stuff like that in the future,” Gibson added.
Gibson also mentioned that he expects spinner Sunil Narine to be the x-factor throughout the series against Bangladesh despite not having a lot of experience playing Test cricket.
Narine has taken 12 wickets in the three Test matches he has played in his international career.
“Narine is a very fast learner. When he played his first Test it was on the back of very little first-class cricket and he had made his name in limited-overs cricket, in alien conditions in England he didn’t look very comfortable but when we returned to the Caribbean we saw the real Narine. Against New Zealand he started to bowl round the wicket so it shows that he is learning. We expect him to be a handful in Bangladesh and we believe he will be a match-winner in the long format as well,” Gibson said.