‘This series against India gives us an opportunity to see where we are as a Test side’, says Ottis Gibson

Image courtesy of: Hindustan Times

“We have to be focused on our job, which is to get there and give India a good fight”

With the West Indies’ last three Test series having come against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and an inexperienced New Zealand side, head coach Ottis Gibson believes “this series against India gives us an opportunity to see where we are as a Test side”.

The West Indies have been on a six-Test winning streak, a feat which they have not accomplished since 1988, and Gibson hopes to add to that tally in India.

“This series against India gives us an opportunity to see where we are as a Test side,” he said. “We’ve played some pretty good Test cricket, there’s a lot that’s been said about winning the last six [matches]. People have also spoken about the opposition [we faced] so the India tour gives us an opportunity to test ourselves against them. We are looking forward to that challenge and continue our winnings ways.”

Despite having played their last Test match in March, the West Indies have been kept busy with numerous limited overs tournaments and series, starting with the Champions Trophy, which was followed by an ODI tri-series involving India and Sri Lanka, a limited overs series against Pakistan and finally, the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Gibson noted that he would have preferred to have an extra warm-up match than just one three-day game against Uttar Pradesh.

“We have a week in India, but ideally, I would have the guys in the indoor school hitting balls and play a couple of practice matches because we’ve been off, especially in Test cricket, for a very long time,” he said. “We haven’t had the physical preparation but there’s a lot of mental stuff we can do to make sure we’re ready for the two games in India.”

Prior to their departure, the West Indies will have a team-building exercise in Miami.

Following their tour of India, the West Indies will travel to New Zealand for a series, which will consist of three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals.

“We’ll have some sessions with the sports psychologist,” Gibson said. “We’ll do things other than cricket as we bond and become a stronger unit. It’s a long tour, starting with India and then straight on to New Zealand and we’ll only be back next year. It’s new and the guys are looking forward to it.”

The West Indies coach acknowledged the historical significance of their tour to india as it will feature Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th and final Test in his hometown of Mumbai, but Gibson also told his side to stay “focused” on the task at hand.

“We understand the importance of the two games, the significance of Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test, but we have to be focused on our job, which is to get there and give India a good fight and if after five days of fierce competition it happens that we are on top, then so be it,” he said.

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