By Mike King | Sat, October 19, 2013 - 12:03 AM
THE WEST INDIES' tour of India is less than three weeks away and team coach Ottis Gibson is not letting any distractions get in his way as he prepares the team for what is a short but potentially tough tour.
Yesterday, Gibson, backed by his support team, supervised a fitness and medical camp for the 15-member squad and prospective players at the 3Ws Oval of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Sessions have been intense, with Gibson mindful that the players will be playing non-stop cricket away for the next three months. The West Indies will spend three weeks in India and then head to New Zealand right after, where they will play three Tests and five One-Day Internationals that will take them into mid-January.
The West Indies have won their last six Tests but have not beaten India in the five-day format for 11 years, not since Carl Hooper’s men prevailed 2-1 in the home series in 2002. Shiv Chanderpaul and Christopher Gayle are the only survivors of that series which the West Indies won 2-1.
India have won the last four series between the two teams and will no doubt be keen to extend that sequence in what will be the great Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series.
Simon Cottrell, the 25-year-old Jamaican left-arm fast medium bowler, who has taken just one five-wicket haul in first-class cricket, is the only uncapped player in the squad which will sees the return of his compatriot Chadwick Walton and Barbadian Kirk Edwards.
Walton, 28, who played two Tests in 2009 against Bangladesh, is the reserve ’keeper to Denesh Ramdin, while Edwards who turns 29 three days before the opening Test, is back in the squad on the strength of a solid first-class season and some good scores for the "A" team in India.
Ramdin, 28, who has the experience of 51 Tests and three hundreds, has special reason for looking forward to this tour. He has never played a Test in India and will also want to add to his 150 dismissals behind the stumps.
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies’ one-day captain, also took part in the camp. Bravo is expected to be retained as leader for the forthcoming one-day series even though the West Indies have come up short in their last three series, the last of which was a 3-1 defeat at home to Pakistan.
Eden Gardens in Kolkata and the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will host the two Tests in India next month. While Eden Gardens will host the opening Test from November 6 to 10. Tendulkar’s farewell Test, his 200th will be played at his home ground from November 14 to 18.
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