Trinidad and Tobago right-arm fast bowler Shannon Gabriel performed reasonably well on debut, picking up three wickets for 60 runs against England in the first Test match at Lords.
Full credit to Gabriel who played his first Test match with confidence. He looked a fully- matured, top-class player in the manner in which he bowled. He did so with discipline, line, good direction, appreciable pace and used the conditions to his advantage.
Gabriel seemed to be focused on making batsmen fall prey to mistakes. He challenged the batsmen into going after his bowling, which created a competitive situation. This is what is required for Test cricket.
West Indies selectors have wasted too much time on looking around for bowlers to represent the West Indies. For too long, useful bowlers have been ignored by the West Indies selectors and these bowlers are fit and ready. Numerous fast bowlers are hanging around and are not being utilized.
The West Indies now have three pacers who can play in the same Test match. Four pacers may be necessary under certain conditions. The pacers must be up to the task of picking up wickets and not just idling.
One of the problems surrounding the selection process is that some players are selected to perform certain duties and they do not adhere to the requirements. This may include the West Indies captain as well, for he is not doing his share of the bowling.
Captain Darren Sammy must step up and do his share of the bowling and stop putting unnecessary pressure on the other three bowlers. All four specialist bowlers must contribute to the team in inflicting pressure on the opposing team.
Inclusion Is Vital
The inclusion of Sunil Narine as a spin bowler in the West Indies team is of paramount importance. Narine can only take care of the spinning department of the team but it is important to have a minimum of three pacers in the Test squad in order to put any pressure on the opposing team.
Two fast bowlers with spinners Narine and Darren Sammy are insufficient to apply the necessary bowling pressure.
Be Wicket Takers
Windies bowlers must be wicket-takers. They are playing at the highest level and the tactics about exploiting the weaknesess of batsmen should be in their game plan.
Bowling at 88-90 MPH is not the only requirement to take wickets. Bowlers must study the skills and tactics of the opposing batsmen. A strategic plan must be implemented in getting wickets and bowlers must work harder.