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Gabriel likely to feature as Windies hope for rain relief
The West Indies cricketers will be hoping the Almighty sends blessings by keeping the rain away, so that they could get in the full five days in the second Test against New Zealand which begins at 10am today at the Queen’s Park Oval.
The struggling West Indies lost the opening Test by 186 runs at Sabina Park in Jamaica, and will be hoping that the weather holds so that they can have an even chance of winning the second Test.
Rain has been in the air over the past week and the forecast is for more over the coming few days. This does not make good reading but hopefully there will be enough time to get in enough cricket for a meaningful match.
Yesterday the locals had a work out at the Oval and from all reports everything is fine with the squad in terms of injury. The team spirit remains upbeat despite the opening loss and with the new players coming in there is optimism.
Jermaine Blackwood and Leon Johnson come into the fray replacing Keiran Powell and Marlon Samuels respectively. There is a strong indication that the home team would go into this Test with a third pacer in the form of Shannon Gabriel and use one spinner. The track at the Oval has changed in recent years and would give assistance to the fast bowlers as well.
Skipper Denesh Ramdin is backing his boys to come good. “We have no choice but to go all out in this Test. We have the talent to win matches against New Zealand and it has been frustrating that the results have not come our way.
“Hopefully the guys can go out there and give off their best, so that we can come back into this series and have a chance at even winning it. We have been working hard and it is all in the head right now. The guys have to be positive, go out there and believe in themselves and their teammates and we can be right back in this series.”
Ramdin said the pitch at the Oval should be a sporting one which would give assistance to whoever is willing to work for it. “We have the batting and bowling attack to suit this pitch and once we go at the opposition positively we would get the result we want.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee who was brilliant in the opening Test said: "Coming to Trinidad now, the last Test I played here I performed pretty well so I'm looking to better that performance or even top it. I'm just going to go out there put in my best and give it a good shot.
"In Trinidad, the wicket has got better over the years, so it's better for fast bowling. So you've just got to go out there and put the work in, bowl some strong balls in good areas, the batsmen will make mistakes and you will get the wickets."
West Indies: Denesh Ramdin (capt), Chris Gayle, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Jermaine Blackwood, Leon Johnson, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Shane Shillingford, Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Mark Craig, Peter Fulton, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling and Kane Williamson.