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West Indies Coach Ottis Gibson has revealed the West Indies are considering a four-man seam bowling attack for the first Test against England at Lord’s.
Gibson said he was confident Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampul would shake off ankle and neck problems respectively in time for the start of the series on Thursday and admitted there was a temptation to pair them with Fidel Edwards and captain Darren Sammy.
“We haven’t been able to see the pitch yet so we haven’t decided what we’re going to do,” he said.
“But based on early season conditions in England it’s possible that we’ll go for four seamers in the attack.”
Off-spinner Shane Shillingford impressed against Australia in the West Indies recently, and was included in the defeat to England Lions in Northampton.
Captain Darren Sammy left himself out of the attack for that match in order for the other seamers to experience some cricket but is a certainty to return at Lord’s, meaning one of Rampul, Roach, Edwards and Shillingford will miss out.
Marlon Samuels’ part-time off-spin could also be used as a useful fifth option, increasing the likelihood that Shillingford will be left out in a ‘horses-for-courses’ move.
The West Indies attack has the perfect mentor for bowling well in English conditions.
Gibson was inspirational for Durham when they won the County Championship in 2007 and also played for Glamorgan and Leicestershire during a 17-year first-class career.
"I find the length to bowl in England is very different to the length you bowl at home in the Caribbean and the one message I’ve given to them is that the only skill you need to have in these conditions is the skill of patience," added Gibson, who played the first of his two Tests at Lord's in 1995.
"If you put the ball in the right area, often enough in England at this time of year you’ll get reward. So it’s about letting the ball do the work for you."