Speedster Gabriel does not expect drop in pace


Speedster Gabriel does not expect drop in pace

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel does not believe his pace will be affected by his recent ankle surgery, and hopes the Test tour of England goes ahead so he can return to action.

The barrel-chested 32-yearold, one of the mainstays of the Test attack, has been sidelined since last September after undergoing surgery last November.

Gabriel said his main priority was achieving a high standard of fitness which would guarantee his pace remained.

“I am trying my best to be as fit as possible so I’m really working hard in terms of my fitness and managing my weight, trying not to get too heavy to put too much strain on my ankle,” Gabriel told i95FM here.

“So I know once I put in the hard work everything will be ok [with my pace] in the end. I just want to stay positive.

“[My bowling run-up has] probably just tweaked a bit, in terms of my running technique but I don’t think there are many changes …

“I just want to be fitter than I was because obviously that ankle was getting most of the pressure, and obviously I don’t want that type of injury to happen again. So I’m trying my best to stay fit so I can stay on the park [longer].”

He added: “It has been a long journey since November when I did the surgery on my ankle. Though everything is going well, it has been a long process in terms of getting back to running and bowling and stuff like that.”

Gabriel missed Trinidad and Tobago Red Force’s Regional Super50 campaign last November and the entirety of the domestic first class championship.

He was hoping to return to action in the last two rounds of the four-day tournament before it was aborted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gabriel was recently named in a provisional 30-man squad to tour England in July and hopes the three-Test tour comes off despite the doubt surrounding the series.

“It’s a good feeling always to represent West Indies,” said Gabriel, who has taken 133 wickets from 45 Tests.

“It’s good to be back out on the park. The plan is to try to make the tour to England — hopefully that comes off. I’m just trying my best to stay positive and I hope everything goes well.

“There has been no high-intensity work; I’m just taking my body back into it easy, taking it one day at a time and not trying to push too hard — but it’s still a long while before the first Test in England and by that time I’m sure I’ll be fit and ready.”

Cricket West Indies and its English counterparts are locked in discussions over the tour as they assess the public health threat, especially with the United Kingdom one of hardest hit regions hardest hit by the virus.

If the tour goes ahead, players will be subjected to radical quarantine and self-distancing measures at biosecure stadia, and Gabriel conceded this could prove a challenge.

“It’s going to take a lot. It’s going to be mentally taxing on the brain but you have to stay positive,” the Trinidadian noted.

“On the positive side, you’re still getting the opportunity to play cricket and represent your country, so that in itself should be enough motivation."

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