West Indies’ Lord's debutant Shannon Gabriel has been ruled out from playing the rest of the test series in England, following problems with his back. The 24 year old from Trinidad surprised many when he was selected to play ahead of mildly injured Ravi Rampaul and put up a good bowling performance in the first innings, picking up 3 wickets for 60 and an over all 4 wickets for 86 runs in the first test. He developed back spasms just 5 overs into the second innings.
The West Indies’ medical team assessed Gabriel and eventually advised him to go back home. Gabriel has a good first class record of 67 wickets in 25 games. Speaking to the Daily Mail (UK), West Indies team physiotherapist C.J. Clark said, “Shannon made the complaint late in the first Test against England and scans conducted following the match showed a stress reaction in the lower spine. He was subsequently ruled out of the second Test and, after further consultation, we feel that to prevent this injury developing any further it is in Shannon's best interest for him to return to T&T (Trininad and Tobago) for rest and rehabilitation to ensure he is fully fit when selected for West Indies in the future.”
Gabriel will be replaced by Tino Best from Barbados. The 30 year old Best has played just 14 tests and has picked 18 wickets. He last played for the West Indies in 2009 against Bangladesh. He also made it to the one day squad against Australia in the recent series that took place, but didn’t play in any of the games. Out of international match practice, Best has been consistently performing on the domestic level in the West Indies.
Best is actually part of English cricketing lore now. Back in 2004, when Best was on strike, he kept trying to slog spinner Ashley Guiles. Andre Flintoff remarked, “Mind the windows, Tino!” Following Best’s sudden recall, several English media houses sprung into action posting the same comment. A good chance for Best to make a comeback and silence the smirks.