'Fast bowling rebirth offers hope for West Indies'

Bridgetown (Barbados), March 12 (IANS) West Indies head coach Otis Gibson says fast bowling is experiencing a rebirth in the Caribbean and he has expressed confidence that the trend could improve the regional side's rankings in world cricket.

Gibson's comments come as a number of leading fast bowlers have been included as well as excluded in the West Indies squad to play Zimbabwe from Tuesday in the first of two Test matches at Kensington Oval.

Rising star Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Tino Best are the pacers in the 13-man squad to play Zimbabwe while Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards, and the promising Jason Holder are the quickies not included.

"From my point of view as a coach or as a previous bowling coach, if you look at the fast bowling stocks at the moment. Fidel Edwards is missing, Ravi Rampaul is missing," said Gibson.

"But to have Kemar Roach, Tino Best, Shannon Gabriel, to have Sheldon Cotterrell waiting in the wings as well, to have Jason Holder, to have Delorn Johnson, young (Ronsford) Beaton, (is a positive).

The West Indies have produced an astounding array of pace bowlers over the years who have terrorised opponents mainly in the 1970s and 1980s.

They include the likes of Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.

"The West Indies cricket over the years, the success of the team has always been built on a four-prong pace attack but you have to have young bowlers first and foremost," said Gibson.

"All these names seem to suggest that we are going somewhere towards developing a crop of leaders that can lead us forward."

Roberts, Holding, Garner and Marshall formed a dangerous quartet of the West Indian fast bowlers that devastated opposition batsmen at both Test and One Day International level.

While Roberts' trade mark was the use of two different bouncers Holding was known for maiming batsmen and delivered what is widely regarded as the most menacing over in history when he pummelled Geoff Boycott in 1981.

Gibson says the plethora of young fast bowlers surfacing in the West Indies offer hope for the future of the Caribbean side.

"There are a lot of names that are popping up now that gives you the feeling that things are starting to turn around with regards to fast bowling, if not necessarily the overall cricket," he said.

--IANS/CMC

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