WEST Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel said the bowlers in the upcoming three-match Test series between West Indies and England would be at a disadvantage because they are not allowed to use saliva to shine the ball in order to get swing.
Earlier this month, the International Cricket Council confirmed that no saliva would be allowed to reduce the spread of the covid19 virus.
Gabriel, speaking to journalists,on Thursday, via Zoom, said, “The no saliva situation I think puts the bowlers at a disadvantage. It is kind of hard to use just sweat alone, but as I said, it is the new norm so, you just have to get on with it and find a way to make it work.”
The West Indies fast bowlers who will try to get as much swing as possible without saliva on the 14-man squad are Kemar Roach, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph and Chemar Holder.
Gabriel, who is one of the 11 reserves on the squad, is not 100 per cent fit after having surgery on his right ankle in November 2019. The TT player has been the leading West Indies pacer in recent years alongside Roach.
Gabriel, 32, has played 45 Test matches and has grabbed 133 wickets. Speaking about his recovery, he said, “The ankle is good at the moment, no pains and aches, it is just about getting back use to playing Test cricket and those long hours on the field.”
Asked if he is available for selection for the first match starting on July 8, Gabriel said, “Based on how the next couple weeks go, based on the practice games and how the body holds up during the practice games and if I am ready to start a Test match.”
Gabriel, however, said it is not his decision whether he is eligible for selection. “That is a question you will have to ask the coach (Phil Simmons) or the chairman of selectors (Roger Harper). There are a lot of fast bowlers here and they are very exciting and looking at them for the past week they could put anyone under pressure. I am just trying to get back my fitness and at the end of the day I will leave that up to the selectors and the coaching staff.”
Gabriel said he would welcome the chance to start if needed. “Of course (I would like to play). That is why I came to England in the first place to give myself the best opportunity to play a Test match.”
The Trinidadian said he is enjoying passing on his knowledge to the other fast bowlers. “It is a good experience. There are a lot of young players coming through, young fast bowlers and it is exciting for West Indies cricket. Other than trying to get myself prepared, I am trying to lend any advice or any knowledge or any experience that I have so I could pass it on so they could take it into the game.”
The series would be played at closed venues due to the virus, but Gabriel believes it would not take away from the competitiveness of the series.
“When you step on the field you are playing for country and if you not going out there to give 100 per cent I don’t think you should be on the field. I don’t think anyone would go half-hearted or anything like that. We came here to try to win a series and we are going to do the best that we can and fight as hard as we can to win the series.”