West Indies paceman Gabriel pushing for involvement in England series

As he continues his recovery from ankle surgery, Shannon Gabriel is pushing for a place in West Indies' squad for the tour of England.

Shannon Gabriel has not featured in the longest format since September 2019.   -  Getty Images

West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel is hopeful of returning from injury in time to be selected for a planned Test tour of England.

The Windies and England are attempting to organise a three-match series - to be held behind closed doors - for July, with games pencilled in for July 8, July 16 and July 24, according to Johnny Grave, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief executive.

Grave also confirmed a 25-man squad, including 10 reserves, will travel to the United Kingdom in the week commencing June 8.

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Gabriel has not featured in the longest format since September 2019, having struggled with an ankle injury which subsequently required surgery in November last year.

Now, the paceman is focusing on stepping up his rehabilitation with the aim of returning to the fold for the series.

"It's a good feeling always to represent West Indies. It's good to be back out on the park," he told i955FM. "The plan is right now to try to make it to the tour to England - hopefully that comes off. I'm just trying my best to stay positive and I hope everything goes well.

"It has been a long journey since November when I did the surgery on my ankle. Everything is going well, it has been a long process in terms of getting back to running and bowling and stuff like that.

"I am trying my best to be as fit as possible so I'm really working hard in terms of my fitness and managing my weight, trying not to get too heavy to put too much strain on my ankle. So I know once I put in the hard work everything will be okay in the end. I just want to stay positive.

"There has been no high-intensity work, I'm just taking my body back into it easy, taking it one day at a time and not trying to push too hard but it's still long while before the first Test in England and by that time I'm sure I'll be fit and ready."

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With cricket having been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gabriel does not expect it to be an easy transition for many players to return, especially with physical-distancing measures introduced by the ICC.

"It's going to take a lot. It's going to be mentally taxing on the brain but you have to stay positive. Keep your mind fresh," Gabriel said. "I know they [England] are going to be coming at us all guns [blazing] at us, but I know the guys

"Plus plenty of the guys haven't been playing any cricket, so it is going to take us a while to get back there. On the positive side, you're still getting the opportunity to play cricket and represent your country so that in itself should be enough motivation."

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