Windies fast-bowling attack could be X-Factor in series

first_img– Senior pacers need to prove value in English conditionBy Clifton RossWEST Indies recently buffed their already venomous fast-bowling attack by adding speedster Shannon Gabriel to their squad, giving the Caribbean side even more firepower which could help shift the balance against the English.Next week’s Test series will be a mental test as the players will be engaging in action amidst the pandemic, which will likely see a number of new rules and guidelines being implemented throughout the series.Given the line-up which features skipper Jason Holder, senior pacers Kemar Roach and Gabriel, along with the young quick pair of Chemar Holder and Alzarri Joseph; it is clear that the Windies will be looking to extract much from their 5-pronged pace attack.Glimpses of Raymon Reifer’s class were shown during the early stages of the warm-up games as the Guyana Jaguars left-hander will play a huge role with his left-arm swingers; which will complement the raw pace of his other mates.Conditions will also favour the Windies ‘Big 3’ bowlers in; Gabriel, Holder and Roach, who have exceptional records playing Test cricket in England. Gabriel, with 133 Test scalps under his belt, will be the man to watch especially with the new-ball.His pace and being fit again will allow him to play the ‘hatchet-man’ role while Roach is 8 wickets away from having 50 English scalps in the bag. The Bajan speedster is the most successful Windies bowler in the squad against England, having the most wickets (42).Although most of the Windies’ strike-bowlers have excellent personal records against England in Tests, playing in England – Roach possesses the best of the lot – they will need to quickly adapt to the playing conditions.England have not yet disclosed their full quota of bowlers but with the series in their backyard, it is likely that the hosts will be keen to field the likes of Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, veteran James Anderson, Stuart Broad with left-hander Ben Stokes filling the main all-rounder spot in the team.Also, it will be important to see which of the two sides adapt fastest to the current mental climate of playing cricket while possibly being at risk to the exposure of COVID-19.With concentration and focus being among the key traits of a pacer, it will be interesting to see the approach of the Windies bowlers, who have been known to run cold when under pressure from batsmen.Should they hit the deck running, it will be a tussle and one England might not want to get caught up in should the likes of Roach, Gabriel or any of the young studs in Joseph or Holder embrace the English conditions – suited for pace bounce and seam.In all, both units will be heavily armed heading into the Test series with West Indies having much to prove playing in the den of their rivals.Root and his men will be keen on maintaining their record against the West Indies in Test cricket while defending their home turf in the process.last_img

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