West Indies coach Ottis Gibson challenged his players on Tuesday to overcome the expected cold temperatures and unfamiliar conditions when the three-Test tour of England begins later this week.
Gibson is encouraged by the recent progress shown by his team despite losing 2-0 to Australia at home in a three-match series, but acknowledges that taking on top-ranked England will present a more difficult task.
“We have to get out there and be tough and be men, and play some very hard cricket,” said Gibson, a former fast bowler. “If ever there was a case for home-court advantage, this is it. Going to England, for us especially, coming out of a very, very hot Dominica, going up there in early May is always a challenge.”
“We’re playing against the No. 1 team in the world, so of course we’re going to expect it to be tough,” he added.
The West Indies have two warm-up matches — the first starting against Sussex on Saturday, before the opening Test at Lord’s on May 17.
The West Indies’ last Test series in England was also in May, with temperatures that were regularly below 10oC. The Caribbean side were beaten in both Tests.
The first was lost at Lord’s by 10 wickets inside three days; the second was by an innings and 83 runs at Chester-le-Street early on the fifth day, despite an entire day being lost to the weather.
“We know it’s going to be cold, so there’s no point whingeing about it,” Gibson said.