Gayle’s fitness is our major concern, says Ottis Gibson

"He had a couple of hits in the nets today and he did some catching on the field, so he has enough time"

“He had a couple of hits in the nets today and he did some catching on the field, so he has enough time”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson has revealed that he and the rest of the coaching staff are sweating over opening batsman Chris Gayle and whether his lower back injury heals in time for the first Test against New Zealand in Jamaica.

The Test will mark a milestone in Gayle’s illustrious career as it will be his 100th Test in a West Indies shirt.

“He’s here. He was told he had to be at the camp on June 1,” Gibson said. “He went to Germany to see a specialist so over there, he had some injections for his back. The specialist said he would need to take a couple of days rest and after which he should be able to take full part in cricket. The first Test match starts on June 8, so he has enough time to get enough cricket. He had a couple of hits in the nets today and he did some catching on the field, so he has enough time, once we get to Jamaica, to get himself settled down.”

When asked if he would use two spinners during the first Test, Gibson said: “We have to get there first. What we do is we tend to get there first and see the conditions and then think of the make-up of the team.

“We have three quality fast bowlers who have done well this week and two world-class spinners, with Benn coming back into the team after a long absence and Shane, who’s had his issues with his bowling action and stuff. We are very happy we have two of those guys in our midst. If the wicket suits two spinners, then I guess two spinners can play. If not, we have three quality seamers that will take the field.”

Gibson added that he was impressed with his team’s performance in the exhibition matches they played against local opposition.

“Darren Bravo got a hundred in the first game, Kraigg [Brathwaite] came in and he got some runs yesterday. Shiv [Chanderpaul] spent some good time in the middle,” he said. “The reason why we come here and prepare ourselves physically and then we do a lot of technical work is to make sure that when we get to Jamaica it is just about performing. In Jamaica, we will have a look at the conditions, the pitch we are likely to play on we pick the best possible team from the 13 guys we have and we work really hard and try and win the first Test match.”

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