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Gabriel to miss New Zealand tour

By Kern De Freitas

Shannon Gabriel will certainly miss New Zealand's tour of the West Indies, which begins at month's end with two Twenty20 matches in Lauderhill, Florida, USA.

Gabriel confirmed yesterday that he is still recovering from the back injury he suffered on his debut for West Indies against England in the first Test of the ongoing series at Lord's last month.

The 24-year-old pacer is making strides in his recovery, but said he will not rush getting back into active cricket.

"I have been doing good," Gabriel told the Express yesterday during a Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) press conference at Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain. "I've been (recuperating for almost) three weeks now. The pain is not there again. So (it's just about) getting more fit and stronger now and (then to get) back into cricket.

"First thing is to get back fit and strong and into cricket again, and I'll take it from there."

Asked about the timeline for his return to cricket, Gabriel said he needs more time to fully recover.

"I don't think I'll be ready for the New Zealand series. [Closer] to the end of the year, there's a tour to Bangladesh (starting November)...hopefully I can be on that team."

During his limited experience playing for West Indies, Gabriel said the biggest challenge was to adjust to the English conditions, and to a higher standard of cricket.

"Over there, it's international cricket," he stated. "It's a big step away from regional cricket. So you have to concentrate a little more on what you want to do and actually planning."

The fast bowler also hailed his debut for the regional team as a "special moment".

"It's every cricketer's dream to play at Lord's and it just happened to be me. It's just (for me) to get back from injury and just address the selectors once more."

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