Gibson Ready For Challenging England Tour
West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson is under no illusions ahead of the tour of England and is expecting his team to be in for a challenging time.
Fresh from a 2-0 Test series defeat to Australia on home soil, they take on England in the first of three Tests at Lord's from 16th May.
And without the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine, they face the number one ranked Test side in the world in conditions that may not suit a young Caribbean side.
"It's going to be tough, there is no question about that, especially in the conditions - early May in England - very chilly," Gibson said at a press conference prior to departure.
"A lot of our guys haven't been there before in those conditions. Once we get over that we also look at were playing the number one team in the world so that will be a challenge as well.
"But that's a challenge I think our guys have sort of been accepting and embracing challenge recently, you can see that from the spirit in the team, the way we've made some little improvements, but improvements none the less."
With the Chris Gayle saga showing no signs of coming to a conclusion soon, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who recently became the second West Indian to score 10,000 Test runs, will be a key player for the tourists.
"Shiv has been outstanding the way he's led the batting, especially in the last series against Australia," Gibsons said.
"(Darren) Bravo has done a lot of good work in recent series, he did very well in India and did reasonably well against Australia as well.
"Kirk Edwards is somebody who has been to England on a few sort of contracts, he made 147 for the A team in England, he's got some experience of England as well. He's somebody that when he comes back into our batting line-up at number three gives it a little solidity, so hopefully he'll have a good series as well.
"We know about the problems we have with young openers. (Kieran) Powell is somebody that I have a lot of faith in, I think he'll come to form in this series as well - he works very hard at his cricket.
"I think good things are just around the corner for him too. If we can get runs from our top six, I believe they should make runs everytime we bat as I know we have the bowling attack."
Pressed further on the Gayle situation, Gibson offered a frank appraisal, saying: "I don't know. The whole Chris Gayle saga has gone on far too long for my liking.
"I''ve kept out of it for the last eight months and i intend to do so until somebody tells me Chris is available, of course he's somebody who could add value to our team - but I will wait to hear from the heirachy what the situation is on that."
The West Indies begin their tour when they play Sussex from 5th May at Hove.
© Cricket World 2012