Bridgetown: West Indies coach Ottis Gibson challenged his players on Tuesday to overcome the expected cold temperatures and unfamiliar conditions when the three-Test tour of England begins later this week. Gibson is encouraged by the recent progress shown by his team despite losing 2-0 to Australia at home in a three-match series, but acknowledges that taking on the top-ranked English will present a more difficult task.
"We have to get out there and be tough and be men and play some very hard cricket," said Gibson, a former fast bowler. "If ever there was a case for home-court advantage, this is it. Going to England, for us especially, coming out of a very, very hot Dominica, going up there in early May is always a challenge. We're playing against the No. 1 team in the world, so of course we're going to expect it to be tough."
West Indies have two warmup matches — the first starting against Sussex on Saturday before the opening Test at Lord's on May 17. West Indies' last Test series in England was also in May with temperatures that were regularly below 10 degrees Celsius The Caribbean side was beaten badly in both Tests.
The first was lost at Lord's by 10 wickets inside three days; the second was by an innings and 83 runs at Chester-le-Street early on the fifth day despite an entire day being lost to the weather. "We know it's going to be cold so there's no point whingeing about it," Gibson said. "No one should expect that we're going to feel cold and want to cuddle each other up or something warm."
"I believe that the team is shaping up quite nicely, heading in the right direction. Winning isn't far away and the young guys are developing. There are some good signs for the future. I think this young team will equip itself very well and I think that our guys will rise to the challenge like we did in parts in the Australia series."