West Indies will be banking on the experience of Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine when they come to India in November. Coach Ottis Gibson feels the tour will be a challenge and a reality check on a Caribbean side that has won its last six Test matches against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
India have invited the West Indies for a two-Test, three-ODI series in November. For the Caribbeans, the Indian tour will precede the trip to New Zealand which is scheduled to commence on December 3 and conclude on January 15 next year. Gibson says the Indian tour will be an "immense challenge" where the Indian Premier League experience of a Gayle (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders) will come handy.
"If you look at the last six Tests we played, we won them. It's been good progress but I know people aren't considering them as big wins," Gibson told ESPNCricinfo. "Against India however, we can really gauge the progress. I'd never discount wins against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh though because they are upcoming and talented but India will be an immense challenge and we're looking forward to it."
Gibson admits the return of Gayle has strengthened the West Indian Test side. "We were in India a couple of years ago and played good cricket, but didn't win. Now the team dynamic is different, and with Gayle back, we'll give a tougher run," Gibson said.
Interestingly, Gibson said the players had little clue about the Indian tour. It came as a surprise, he said. "It just sprung up and the guys will spend a long time away from home. We have to get the balance right, but we're preparing to get the cricket aspects right first. I'd like my players to have their family time, so we'll sort this out," the former West Indian pacer said.
West Indies last faced India in a limited-overs series in the Caribbean immediately after the ICC Champions Trophy in June. India won that tri-nation series which also involved Sri Lanka.