West Indies should build their Test team around the experienced Shivnarine Chanderpaul, former West Indies off spinner Lance Gibbs said, adding the southpaw's experience should be used to help young batsmen like Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo adjust to conditions in the sub-continent. West Indies will play two Test matches in India in November.
Gibbs said as Chanderpaul is West Indies' premier batsman, the team should be built around him, as the Caribbean team looks to become consistent in Tests.
"Chanderpaul is one of our premier batsmen - the premier [one] actually," Gibbs told ESPNCricinfo. "We need to bat around him and mature these inexperienced players in his presence. That maturity is not there right now but, as with many teams, we all have our ups and downs, but now we need to turn that proverbial corner which everyone always speaks of, every time we do well."
The 39-year-old Chanderpaul has scored 10,830 runs including 28 centuries with a highest score of 203* at an average of 51.81 in 148 Tests.
Gibbs also backed Darren Sammy as Test captain, but said Dwayne Bravo needs to improve as limited-overs skipper as West Indies look to build on their success in the 2012 World Twenty20 and recent results in One-Day Internationals. Gibbs said Dwayne Bravo needs to focus on certain areas, but expressed confidence in Sammy's abilities to deliver in India. "Dwayne tries to do too much. He needs to focus on certain areas and not try to do so much. We saw his death bowling exposed in the CPL, but I have faith in him as much as I know Sammy will deliver in India. The squad's a good mix. Hungry and young too."
The likes of Edwards and Narsingh Deonarine have impressed during the A's team ongoing tour in India, and Gibbs said the Sammy-led squad has a good blend of youth and experience. He added that playing Test series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have also helped the Test team improve.
"Zimbabwe and Bangladesh were good to practice against in the last year, and we did improve. Each nation goes through these motions in the sport and we as a team need to move from strength to strength. Let's play good cricket and get the fundamentals right. You can see a team like England and say they're the best, but it's only in the past few years they've stepped up so I'm confident in the Windies," Gibbs said.
West Indies will play a three-day warm-up match, two Test matches and three One-Day Internationals in India. The first Test will be held from November 6-10; while the second, which will be Sachin Tendulkar's landmark 200th Test will start on November 14. The three ODIs will be played on November 21, 24 and 27. The BCCI is yet to announce the venues for the series.