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Seniors need to step up, says coach


NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

Seniors need to step up, says coach

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IT WON’T BE a bed of roses in next month’s three-Test tour of Sri Lanka, says West Indies’ coach Ottis Gibson.
While acknowledging “Sri Lanka is a tough place to play cricket”, Gibson said the regional cricket selectors chose the 15-member squad with two things in mind.
“We want to go and do ,well and to try and move West Indies cricket forward from the place where it currently sits, which is a low place in the standings of world cricket,” Gibson said at a media conference at the Jamaica Pegasus.
“We’re trying to move forward from there and this team represents a move towards the future,” he noted.
And Gibson made it clear that experienced players such as former captains Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle, as well as all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, must pull their weight.
“The senior players have a huge job to play leading the team and putting scores on the board. We haven’t put scores on the board consistently,” Gibson said.
Gibson said the tour would provide the opportunity to expose a few players, hoping they could realise their potential.
“We’ve got [André] Russell and [Devon] Thomas on tour for the first time. Darren Bravo has been involved but he hasn’t played a Test as yet. Adrian Barath has only played two Tests, so we’re exposing young players and we’re hoping that they show the promise that we see in them,” he said.
The former England bowling coach and West Indies fast bowler said Russell, a fast-bowling all-rounder from Jamaica, who has taken 23 wickets in 10 first-class matches with two five-wickets innings hauls and also scored a century against Ireland, was an exciting prospect.
“When I see André Russell, he excites me. He is a big, tall fellow and he has got some pace. We took the decision to take him along and it will give me an opportunity to work with him and introduce him into the international arena that way,” said Gibson.
He also pointed out that the selection of Thomas, who turns 21 on November 12 and averages 25.42 in 19 first-class matches, provided the squad with cover in the wicketkeeping department.
Gibson further noted Thomas had been a stand-out with the High Performance Centre squad.
“He has had rave reviews when they went on tour in Canada. The thinking of the selectors is that the subcontinent is a tough place to tour and if you’re going on a tour like that you need to have cover in specialist positions, so therefore the view of taking two keepers is exactly that,” Gibson explained.

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