London: Fitness concerns hover over the fast bowling pair of Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul ahead of Thursday's start of the first Test against England at Lord's. Roach did not bowl on the final day of the four-day tour match against England Lions on Sunday while Rampaul was limited to just four overs as the West Indies slipped to a 10-wicket defeat at Wantage Road.
"Kemar Roach has twisted his left foot, and it was a precaution as much as anything that he didn't bowl. Ravi Rampaul woke up with a stiff neck [Sunday morning]." said Ottis Gibson, the head coach.
The West Indies' build-up to the opening match of the three-Test series has been patchy, with weather and poor form dogging their tour to date. Adverse weather wrecked their opening three-day tour match against Sussex in Hove last week and their batsmen and bowlers struggled at stages during last weekend's fixture against the Lions.
With both Roach and Rampaul key to the Windies attack especially in the English seamer-friendly conditions, Gibson said West Indies would carefully monitor both players.
"We have to be a little bit careful with Lord's in mind. It is a bit of a disappointment that they [seamers] have not bowled much. But we are here to play Test matches and we hope it will be all right. We just had a very tough series in the Caribbean, and they bowled a lot of balls there - especially Kemar Roach." said Gibson.
The concern over Roach and Rampaul adds to those lingering over fellow pacer Fidel Edwards who sat out of the Sussex fixture with injury and also had a limiting bowling role on the final day of the match against the Lions.
"In England it is a matter of getting used to the conditions rather than bowling a lot of balls - and you can get used to the cold without bowling." said Gibson.