West Indies head coach Phil Simmons on Monday hinted that pacer Shannon Gabriel will be added to the Test squad for the impending series against England. The contest will begin from July 8 onwards at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
Gabriel, who was a key player in West Indies' impressive win at home against England two years back, was named in the reserve players' list for the series owing to is recovery from an ankle injury.
However, Simmons on Monday admitted that Gabriel was now "bowling as fast as I've seen him for while" while hinting that the pacer will be an addition to the Test squad if he performed the same in the warm-up matches before the final squad announcement.
"Yes, there is a possibility of Shannon Gabriel joining the touring party," Simmons said. "He's one of West Indies' prominent fast bowlers coming back from injury and we just had to make sure that he was fit enough to work through the tour.
"The last week he's been at full tilt and he looks fit. He looks good. He's bowling as fast as I've seen him for a while so he's ready and close enough to the Test match.
"When leaving home 14 were named in the squad. Because of Shannon coming back from his injury, we had to let him get a little bit further and see how he is and then we'll decide whether to make it a 15-member squad. After that, injuries might be the cause for changes.
"The top three bowlers speak for themselves. Jason Holder is the number one ranked all-rounder in the world in Test cricket, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel are high up on that fast bowling list in the ICC rankings. That shows you there's quality there."
The visiting squad will have an intra-squad warm-up game, a three-day affair, on Tuesday. And will have a four-day match later where the probable first-choice side will be pitted against the reserve team, before the final 15 is announced.
Simmons also hinted that both fast-bowler Alzarri Joseph and spin all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall will be part of the squad given that both Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford ground aids spinners to some extent.
"We haven't seen what the Ageas Bowl is like," Simmons said. "When we see that, we will know what our combination will be like.
"But at this stage, you can say that Rakheem will be a part. He got 10 wickets against Afghanistan in our last Test. So you can say he'll be a part if we go in with two spinners and three fast bowlers or four and one.
"Alzarri Joseph is going to be a big hit on this tour."