Shannon Gabriel: Windies plans to approach next Tests with intensity

As cricket returned, fans across the globe saw a lethal West Indies pace attack led by Gabriel ripping apart a star-studded England batting line-up in the Southampton Test.

Shannon Gabriel celebrates after taking a wicket in the first Test against England in Southampton.   -  AP Photo

As West Indies stunned England in the first Test at Southampton last week, captain Jason Holder admitted that such a feat was possible because of Shannon Gabriel’s heroics.

The Caribbean pace ace scalped nine wickets and was adjudged Man of the Match as Test cricket returned after lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was certainly an incredible moment for the fans across the globe as they witnessed a lethal West Indies pace attack ripping apart a star-studded England batting line-up.

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There were challenges for sure, but Gabriel went about his business rather confidently and ensured that there were no slip-ups. While it took a bit of time to come to terms with shining the ball without the saliva, the pace ace admits that ‘it is part of the new normal’ and it is important ‘to get the job done regardless’.

In an exclusive interaction with Sportstar, ahead of the second Test, which begins in Manchester on Thursday, Gabriel says that West Indies now plans ‘to approach each match with seriousness and intensity.’

Q. How challenging was it to get used to the new normal?

A. It was weird at first, but once we got into that competitive mode and adapted to the changes, it’s not something I thought about much.

Before the Test began, a lot was spoken about the saliva ban. But as the ball got rolling, did it really matter as much?

It was actually hard to adapt to and getting the ball to move as much as normal was a challenge. However, it’s a part of the new normal and we had to get the job done regardless.

Both you and Jason Holder ensured that the bowling department breathes fire. What was the plan? Did the long camp in England, prior to the series, help?

The long camp was helpful, mostly for us to adapt to the weather conditions and get some quality training done. Having a quality set of reserves with us, ensured that we were tested each day in training, even more so than on a regular tour of England.

What, according to you, was the turning point in the first Test?

Not sure what was the ‘turning point’, but each squad member played their role in the eventual success of the team in that first Test match.

Is there anything in particular that you would like to amend before the second Test?

Nothing that I’d necessarily like to point out, but there are some things that we can improve on.

West Indies is 1-0 up in the series. Going forward, how do you plan to approach the remaining two Tests?

The first Test is history. We plan to approach each match with seriousness and intensity.

Personally, how was the feeling to return to cricket after a long break and what's the way forward?

It felt good to be back out in the middle with my team-mates after such a long layoff. I am just hoping to continue going from strength to strength and hopefully, I can put in a lot more good performances.

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