Gabriel pace key to Windies attack: Estwick

Shannon Gabriel

DUBLIN, Ireland, CMC – Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel’s pace will be key to West Indies’ attack during the upcoming World Cup, says assistant coach Roddy Estwick.

The 31-year-old has played 18 One-Day Internationals and claimed 23 wickets, and is returning to the setup for the first time in nearly 18 months. In the interim, he has emerged as a lethal weapon in Tests, and Estwick is expecting him to bring the same qualities to the one-day format.

“He’s got pace and that’s going to be very, very important here in England,” said Estwick.

“The pitches [here] and from the scores going forward that we’ve been looking at already in the [County] season, you see scores of 400 twice at Notts [Nottingham] and that’s where our first game is going to be, so we think that pace is going to be very important and Shannon comes with that.”

Gabriel is the fastest bowler in the Windies pace attack, which also comprises captain Jason Holder, veteran Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas and Carlos Brathwaite.

He has not played since the wretched 2017 tour of New Zealand, however, where he went wicket-less from 24 overs in three matches, as West Indies suffered a chastening whitewash.

Estwick believes the Trinidadian has improved a lot since then and will bring something different to the Windies attack.

“He’s a lot more experienced now than when he last played,” Estwick pointed out. “He’s full of confidence, he’s bowling well so we expect big things from Shannon especially in the role the coach wants him to play.”

West Indies arrived here Wednesday where they take on Ireland and Bangladesh in a Tri-Nations Series starting on Sunday. They face Ireland in their opener on Sunday before taking on Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Estwick said the series would be critical in terms of assessing teams they would face in the World Cup, including world number ones England who play Ireland in a one-off ODI on Friday.

“It’s all about gathering information. Obviously, we play Bangladesh at Taunton a little bit later in the World Cup but it’s also looking at them and looking at England as well…,” he pointed out.

“So it’s gathering as much information as you can and coming up with a game plan that can help you to be successful.”

Following the Tri-Nations Series, West Indies will enter a final one-week preparation camp in Southampton starting May 18 before clashing with South Africa and New Zealand at Bristol on May 26 and 28 in official World Cup warm-up matches.

Their World Cup opener is against Pakistan at Trent Bridge on May 31.

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