WEST Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel is reaping the rewards for the amount of work he has put in over the last couple years, according to former national and West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman David Williams.
Yesterday, the 30-year-old Gabriel put in a Man of the Match performance to become the fourth West Indian bowler to take 12 wickets or more in a Test, after he got match figures of 13 wickets for 121 runs in the drawn Second Test against Sri Lanka at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia. Only the legendary Jamaican fast bowling pair of Michael Holding (14-149 against England at The Oval, London in 1976) and Courtney Walsh (13-55 against New Zealand in Wellington in 1995) have bettered Gabriel’s achievement in this Second Test.
Gabriel’s effort also saw the burly Trinidadian pacer reach 100 Test wickets from 34 matches since making his debut six years ago. His haul against Sri Lanka is also the first time Gabriel has taken 10 or more wickets in a match. It takes Gabriel’s tally to an impressive 17 wickets for the series with one match still to go in Barbados.
Williams, who is currently the technical director of the TT Cricket Board (TTCB), said, “I think that’s a fantastic performance. We all know the quality bowler that he is. What is fascinating about it (is) the work that he put in.”
The former national cricket team coach continued, “He trains right here at the National Cricket Centre (in Couva). Kelvin Williams (the TT Red Force coach) is instrumental as well.
“The kind of work that he put in, both physically and with his bowling, he’s just reaping the rewards. We hope that he continues to go from strength to strength.”
Gabriel made his Test debut against England at Lord’s in London but has had to overcome a few injuries, including a back problem after his initial Test, to cement a place as the leading fast bowler on the WI Test team. Williams noted, “He’s under contract with the (Cricket West Indies) so there is a trainer assigned to him. They all work at the Centre so we were seeing all the work that they put in.
“He really worked tremendously hard this time around, he really put in a lot of work. We hope that he remains fit. Test matches are very difficult, especially when you have back-to-back. “We hope that he will finish this series and finish it well. I wish him all the best. He’s bowling at the top of his gear right now,” Williams ended.