Ready to return

PORT OF SPAIN – West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago pacer Shannon Gabriel says he is fit and ready for a recall to the regional side after being sidelined with a stress reaction in his back, which he picked up during his debut Test against England in May.

Shannon Gabriel says he is ready to return to West Indies’ maroon.

“I am fit and ready,” Gabriel told the media in Trinidad and Tobago when he returned from South Africa during the weekend with some members of the T&T team who were knocked out of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in the qualifying stage last week. Gabriel had a good debut in Test cricket, taking three for 60 in the first innings against England at Lord’s, dismissing Ian Bell, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann. In the second innings, he bowled only five overs, during which he removed Kevin Pietersen.

Stress reaction

Subsequent scans showed a stress reaction in the lower spine, ruling him out of the remainder of the tour. The right-arm fast-bowler also missed the New Zealand series
in the West Indies and was targeting a return to the regional side for the upcoming series
in Bangladesh next month, but will have
to wait a bit longer after he was not selected for the 15-man touring squad announced
on Saturday.

Barbados pacers Kemar Roach and Tino Best along with Gabriel’s T&T teammate Ravi Rampaul were the pacers selected on the West Indies team for the tour of Bangladesh which takes place between November 3 and December 12.

Despite not being named in the touring party, Gabriel, who is a graduate of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Sagicor High Performance Centre (HPC), believes he is an improved cricketer.

“I have improved. I have been doing some work in the nets with the technical aspects
of my game so I am looking to improve further,” he said, noting his eagerness
to return to the West Indies roster.

Pleased to play

Gabriel had been training with the T&T team for the last few months in preparation for the CLT20, and noted that he was pleased to finally get a game in the lucrative tournament.

Gabriel was part of the T&T team that went to the tournament last year in India but he did not play a match. When he finally got a game, against Sri Lanka T20 champions Uva Next, he picked up a wicket with his first ball before rain ended the match early.

T&T were already knocked out of the tournament after they lost their opening match to Yorkshire on the previous day.

“It was a good feeling playing my first game in the Champions League, although we were knocked out in the qualifying stage of the tournament,” Gabriel said. “It was a bit disappointing that we had to come back home so early but that is how cricket goes sometimes. Hopefully we can learn from this and next time put up a better performance,” he added.

Of their loss to Yorkshire, Gabriel said that although they had a poor start, they did put up a creditable score in the end.

“Nine out of ten times, given the team that Trinidad and Tobago have, we would have beaten Yorkshire. We have to learn from it.”

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