COACH of the Trinidad and Tobago national cricket team Kelvin Williams is banking on the energy and aggressiveness of fast bowler Shannon Gabriel to play a crucial role for the West Indies on their upcoming tour of England.
Gabriel, 24, was called up for the first time by the West Indies selectors following a successful Regional Four-Day first-class season where he helped T&T to reach the semi-finals of the competition.
Williams said yesterday he was pleased that Gabriel, a graduate of the Sagicor High Performance Centre in Barbados, has received the nod from the regional selectors since he has been pressing for the inclusion of the strongly built pacer for some time.
"The call-up is well-derserved because when you look at Gabriel's performances for the season he has been consistent. He did not take the amount of wickets he expected to, but he bowled long spells and menaced the region's top batsmen." said Williams.
The former national fast bowler who coaches Caribbean T20 champions T&T said the ball is in Gabriel's hand to do well in the warm-up matches on tour and force himself into the Test team.
Williams said the conditions in England are currently wet and damp and there will be a lot of moisture in the atmosphere which would give Gabriel great encouragement.
The T&T coach was speaking yesterday at an ongoing fast bowling programme organised by the T&T Cricket Board for young cricketers who have been earmarked to receive specialised attention.
Co-ordinator of the programme is the WICB's Territorial Development Officer (TDO) Kumar Rampat and among those who have been lending their expertise are coach Williams, former national player Alec Burns, now a national selector; former WI team assistant coach David Williams and top club coach Gregory Davis.
Williams said the fast bowling course will play a significant role in helping shape the fast bowling talent in T&T.
"A programme like this helps identify the really talented players and assists them to develop into world class. Whatever deficiencies exist in their game comes under scrutiny and can be nipped in the bud," said Williams.
Williams said he has been impressed with the quality of the players who have been participating in the programme and the course tutors are all in agreement that the T&T stock of fast bowlers will serve us many years into the future.
Among those who have been observed and video analysed are national players Rayad Emrit and Navin Stewart; and up and coming players Daniel St Clair, Keon Isaac, Marlon Richards and Christian Dean.