Gibson envies England's green pastures
England’s cricket set-up is “the envy of the world”, according Ottis Gibson - who was once part of it and is now having to deal with the consequences of what he helped to create.
Gibson was England’s fast bowling coach from October 2007 until February 2010 when he became West Indies head coach.
Over the last two months, he has tried to match his charges against the top-ranked Test team and a 50-over side with an impressive record in home conditions.
Having lost the Investec Tests 2-0, the tourists surrendered the NatWest Series at the Kia Oval on Tuesday. England have consequently rested three players - Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann - for the third and final game of the rubber at Headingley Carnegie tomorrow.
“We don’t have that luxury,” admitted Gibson. “We’re not resting when we’re losing.
“England have got it right - they’re winning - so they can afford to rest people. We’ll try to avoid losing 3-0 so all 14 guys will be in contention.”
Stuart Meaker, James Tredwell and Chris Woakes have replaced their bowling counterparts in England’s 14-man squad at Leeds.
Seamers Meaker and Woakes are a product of the set-up Gibson so admires and would, no doubt, love to see replicated by the West Indies Cricket Board.
“The English system has been a well-oiled machine for some time now,” he said. “It’s the envy of the world, lets be honest.
“They’ve got that sort of luxury that they can rest players and stuff like that. And it’s a credit to them and all the people that work behind the scenes to get it to where it is now.
“They’ve got an abundance of talent that they can rest a few players and bring a few in so that for them it’s all good. For us it’s trying game after game to get the right balance of the team.”
In the first two games, England have fielded arguably their best five bowlers in James Anderson, Bresnan, Broad, Steven Finn and Swann.
By contrast, the Windies’ attack has included all-rounders such as Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels, who have not been able to restrict England’s batting sufficiently.
“It’s difficult, the make-up of the side with so many all-rounders in and trying to fit them all in,” Gibson said. “You look at it and you might think you’ve got all the bases covered. But I agree to a point that England have got four or five specialist bowlers.
“They’ve got specialist batsmen, they’ve got a keeper and then they’ve got specialist bowlers and everyone knows their role. It has proven to be successful in the past at home.”
England’s opening batsmen have stood in the way of the tourists, Ian Bell scoring a century at the Ageas Bowl and Alastair Cook doing likewise at the Oval.
West Indies’ hitters have threatened, such as Chris Gayle’s fifty on Tuesday, but have failed to produce a match-winning innings.
“We’re playing cricket in England against a very good English side,” Gibson added.
“Yes, we keep saying on paper we have the makings of a great side with Chris coming back and Kieron Pollard, with the form those guys had in the IPL.
“It’s difficult to put into words how things shaped up so far in the series. We’ve shown that we can play but England have just been that little step ahead of us all the time.
“Bell is in great form. Cook has made a lot of runs in one-day cricket recently. We got Cook in the first game; we couldn’t get Bell. Then we got Bell; we couldn’t get Cook. So we’ve been just a little bit off the pace.”