At the announcement of the West Indies World Cup squad, chairman of selectors Robert Haynes offered that the selectors were of the view that pace would be an important weapon at the World Cup. The wickets in England have been flat in recent times and largely devoid of lateral movement, Haynes offered. Unadulterated pace, the selectors reasoned, was the way to go.
That would partly explain the selection of Shannon Gabriel. His last ODI for the West Indies was in November 2017 in Christchurch against New Zealand, over two years ago.
Tall and robust, the Trinidadian has pace in abundance, enough to match that of young tearaway Oshane Thomas. Gabriel’s experience and superior accuracy, however, should make him a more daunting proposition.
Of all the bowlers of the past five years or so, few would have improved as much as Gabriel. He was always capable of bowling quickly. It was inconsistency that was his downfall. And it is his dedication to his craft that has fostered his remarkable turnaround.
Having played only 18 ODIs and two T20Is, Gabriel has had a rather brief limited overs career. Yet if the selectors are right about the role that raw pace will play in the World Cup, then Gabriel will be a vital member of the West Indies’ attack.