KOLKATA, India – Ottis Gibson said West Indies will be looking to make the most of their warm-up match against Uttar Pradesh which opens on Thursday here.

West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson. Photo courtesy of Brooks La Touche Photography and WindiesCricket.com

The Windies head coach is anxious for his side to use the three-day contest to get valuable match practice prior to the first Test against India, starting next Wednesday at Eden Gardens.

It will be the only warm-up match for the visitors.

“A lot of our guys have been playing a lot of cricket around the World, different formats, just finishing with the Champions League Twenty20 last month, so they have been playing, albeit not red-ball cricket,” he said.

“We had the opportunity to get some practice in Florida and we are now looking forward to the next few days in Kolkata, getting back into the mode of red-ball cricket and preparing for the first Test.”

Gibson said he felt West Indies would adapt quickly, since many of them had the experience of playing in India previously.

“We have a great mix of experienced players and youngsters,” he said. “Quite a few guys have played here previously and our A-Team visited only last month, so the guys have been playing a lot of cricket all around the World.

“But this week is an important week for us to make sure that we get out there and get some real quality preparation on a turf pitch to get back into the mode of red-ball cricket.”

On previous trips to India, the Windies bowling attacks heavily featured fast bowling which brought enviable success.

But there has been a gradual shift towards a more balanced attack in recent years and Gibson said he was more than happy with the composition of the bowling unit which also includes spinners Shane Shillingford and Veerasammy Permaul.

“When you look at the way the pitches around the world now, they are not as fast as it used to be,” he said. “The pitches in the Caribbean, do not lend themselves to pace anymore, so there a lot of quality spinners now like Shillingford and Sunil Narine, Permaul and Nikita Miller.

“So you have to look at the conditions you’re facing and then pick the team accordingly. When we played in India last time, the pitches sort of favoured the spinners, and so we have to make sure that we have players that can perform well in these conditions.”

Gibson said: “We still have some quality fast bowlers – Kemar Roach has been excellent for us over the last two years, Tino Best has also been excellent since his return to international scene, and we also have a young, surprise package in left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell.
“I think we have all bases covered and we believe that we have players to cover any situation in which we find ourselves.”

Play in the warm-up match starts at 9 a.m. daily (East Caribbean minus 9 ½ hours – Jamaica minus 10 ½ hours).

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