West Indies will begin their tour of India next week on the back of shutting out their opposition in their last three Test series.
But the achievement came against minnows Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and, prior to that, a young New Zealand side in the process of a rebuild. Coach Ottis Gibson views the two Tests against India as providing a measure of his team’s standing.
“This series against India gives us an opportunity to see where we are as a Test side,” he said. “We’ve played some pretty good Test cricket, there’s a lot that’s been said about winning the last six matches.
“People have also spoken about the opposition we faced so the India tour gives us an opportunity to test ourselves against them. We are looking forward to that challenge and continue our winnings ways.”
Though their last Test was in March, the players have had a busy calendar in limited-overs cricket, with the Champions Trophy, a tri-series featuring India and Sri Lanka, a limited-overs series against Pakistan, and the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League. Gibson said he would have preferred some additional Test match practice ahead of the tour.
“We have a week in India, but ideally, I would have the guys in the indoor school hitting balls and play a couple of practice matches because we’ve been off, especially in Test cricket, for a very long time,” he said.
“We haven’t had the physical preparation, but there’s a lot of mental stuff we can do to make sure we’re ready for the two games in India.”
The West Indies Cricket Board has arranged a team-building tour of Miami before traveling to India. After the India tour, West Indies heads to New Zealand for three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, returning home in February.
Gibson is aware of the significance of the India tour, which features Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th and last Test.
“We understand the importance of the two games but we have to be focused on our job, which is to give India a good fight and if after five days of fierce competition it happens that we are on top, then so be it.”