Windies pacemen fit and firing

Tourists forced indoors by rain on Tuesday

Last Updated: 16/05/12 12:01pm

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Fidel Edwards practising in Lord's indoor nets on Tuesday

Fidel Edwards practising in Lord's indoor nets on Tuesday

Sky Bet

West Indies' pace attack reported fit and well at Lord's ahead of Thursday's first Investec Test against England.

Kemar Roach (ankle), Fidel Edwards (back) and Ravi Rampaul (stiff neck) were all minor injury concerns after the defeat to England Lions in Northampton. But all three pacemen were able to bowl with no apparent ill-effects as rain forced West Indies to practise in the Lord's indoor school on Tuesday morning.

"Everybody pulled up okay today," said coach Ottis Gibson. "Kemar twisted his ankle at Northants - he's been treated twice a day for the last couple of days.

"He had a little bowl today, about six overs, pretty controlled ... no complaints, so at this stage he's doing okay. Ravi is fine, and Fidel is as well. Everything looks all set for Thursday."

However, the bigger question marks surround the tourists' callow batsmen.

Kieran Powell made his second first-class hundred in West Indies' 10-wicket defeat against England Lions, where number four Darren Bravo also posted back-to-back 50s.

But Powell's opening partner Adrian Barath and Kirk Edwards mustered only 26 runs between them in their four collective innings in the midlands, having previously made 16 and eight respectively in the near washout at Hove.

It all leaves much potentially depending on world number one batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and it is worryingly easy to envisage him having to get used to coming in at 30 or fewer for three in the likely prevailing conditions for the forthcoming three-Test series against England's renowned pace attack.

Coach Ottis Gibson was once the man charged with fine-tuning the methods of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and others - until he left his job as England's bowling specialist to take charge of his native country.

Tough challenge

He does not dispute that the Windies' top order are in for a decidedly tough challenge, at this early stage of their promising careers.

But he knows he must place his faith in their abilities nonetheless. "Sometimes, the best place to get experience is out in the middle," said Gibson.

"We know it's going to be a challenge for them - but the selectors have got a lot of confidence in them, as I have. We know they are good players - they've proven that at home.

"Not a lot of people perform outstandingly well at home and, bearing in mind we are still in a rebuilding phase, these guys are the guys the selectors have decided are the ones they want to have first go at rebuilding the team.

"These are the guys who have to take the challenge and play their best cricket in the series."

Chanderpaul, who marked his 140th Test appearance last month by becoming only the 10th batsman in history to top 10,000 runs, has batted at number five or lower in his 20 innings over the past year.

It is a position which clearly suits him, but not necessarily his team - and it may well become a significant issue if England begin to make short work of the youngsters above him here. "It's something we've thought about," said Gibson.

"Our batting revolves around Shiv - he's very comfortable in the position he is at the moment and he's doing a good job for us.

"We don't want to upset the batting line-up too much, so we've decided to leave it as it is at the moment.

"It's something we haven't completely ruled out, but it's something we will have to revisit at some stage."

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