Gibson urges caution
West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson is confident his players will be completely professional in their approach to the Test series against Zimbabwe despite the odds being stacked heavily in their favour.
The teams will meet in two Tests over the coming weeks, with the opener beginning in Bridgetown, Barbados, tomorrow.
Zimbabwe were outplayed by their hosts in the recent one-day international and Twenty20 series, losing all five matches, and are also rusty in the longer format having played just four Tests in the last two years.
However, Gibson insists that is no excuse for his team to ease up.
"The Test series is very important for us because we have won the last four matches we have played and if we can win these two, we would have to go back to see the last time West Indies have won six Test matches in a row," he told reporters at a press conference.
"People will say that beating Zimbabwe is easy, and if you get that mindset that it is easy then you go and get rolled over, and then the same people who are saying it should have been easy are saying that you are not as good as you think you are.
"For us, as a team, it’s to focus on the first session of the first Test match and take it from there step by step, and hope at the end of five days of, hopefully, good cricket that we’ve won the Test match, and that’s all we can do."
The Windies have made some changes to the squad from the recent ODI and T20 matches, with all-rounder Marlon Samuels returning following a facial injury.
Spinner Sunil Narine has been rested and replaced by Shane Shillingford, while there is no place in the middle order for right-hander Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Zimbabwe will have to greatly improve with both bat and ball if they are to register their first win on the tour, while coach Alan Butcher is looking for a positive end to his tenure as he prepares to step down following the conclusion of the two-Test series.
However, they can gain some confidence from last week’s warm-up match against Sagicor High Performance Centre, in which Hamilton Masakadza hit a century and Graeme Cremer snared seven wickets.
And the tourists may get a helping hand from the weather, with reports predicting scattered showers and thunderstorms for the first few days of the match.