Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
MIAMI, Florida:West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson is expecting the West Indies Indian Premier League (IPL) stars to play a massive role in helping the team to a positive result on the subcontinent, when the regional team faces India in two Tests and three one-day internationals in their upcoming series.
Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy are some of the top Windies players who ply their trade in the cash-rich Twenty20 IPL, and Gibson is mindful of the value of their familiarity with India conditions.
"It's going to be massive. Those guys that are familiar with the conditions have a responsibility to pass on the advice to the guys that are new. We have Sheldon Cotterell going, he went with the A Team to India, but didn't play. He has recovered and will make the trip for the first time," Gibson said.
"Shane (Shillingford) went on the last tour, but didn't play, so there are some guys that are new to Test cricket and that area. So it's the responsibility of the experienced guys to get these players up to speed, talk to them, use the opportunity when we are travelling to talk to them about the fans and conditions that are to be expected," added Gibson, who singled out the usually passionate Indian crowds to be a major factor, especially considering the tour was put together to celebrate the 200th Test match of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar.
"We have a lot of players, Chris (Gayle), (Darren) Sammy, (Dwayne) Bravo, (Sunil) Narine, who are forging strong names for themselves in India in the IPL, and so a lot of our guys are familiar with the conditions. This is probably Shiv's (Shivnarine Chanderpaul) fifth trip there, so once we get out there, we are going to go about ensuring that when you look back at the history of Sachin's 200th Test, hopefully, you will see that he didn't get a 100 and that the West Indies won the Test match," Gibson smiled.
"The passion of the Indian fans comes over to the cricket, so we need them to help the less experienced players to stay calm when the pressure hits because there will be pressure around the occasion itself," Gibson said, before underlining the importance of the series as a marker of his team's improvements.
The West Indies, who will open their tour with a warm-up game starting on October 31, are coming off six Test wins.
However, none have come against a team ranked higher than themselves, leaving Gibson eager to gauge the team's real level of improvement. It's an opportunity that India, and later on New Zealand, are sure to provide.
"This challenge now against India gives us a great understanding of where we are as a team, and when we move on against New Zealand - another tough opposition, especially at home. They showed that against England, and we know we have to up our game in India, and also in New Zealand," said Gibson.