West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel set to join Test squad after regaining fitness and pace

England announce #raisethebat series to honour key workers of the coronavirus battle

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 9, 2019, West Indies' Shannon Gabriel smiles during a training session at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, southern England. West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has no plans to alter his on-field approach against England, saying a previous flare-up with Joe Root was "blown way out of proportion". - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
 / AFP / Glyn KIRK                   / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
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West Indies coach Phil Simmons said fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has regained his pace and fitness and is set to join the Test squad ahead of next month's three-match series against England.

The 32-year-old right-arm quick arrived in England as one of 11 reserve players, with concerns over his fitness following an ankle injury.

Simmons said Gabriel could join the touring party and that he was looking fit.

"The last week he's been at full tilt and he looks fit," the coach said. "He's bowling as fast as I've seen him for a while so he's ready and close enough to the test match."

West Indies will play two warm-up matches before the first Test in Southampton from July 8 and Simmons will be keeping an eye on Gabriel's progress before deciding whether to add him to the pool.

"When leaving home 14 were named in the squad," the coach said.

"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."

Manchester will host the last two Tests of the series, which will be played behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, England will pay tribute to the front-line workers fighting the pandemic by naming their three-Test contest against West Indies as #raisethebat series.

Before the opening day of the first Test at the Ageas Bowl on July 8, England will wear training tops bearing the names of key workers who have been nominated by their local cricket clubs.

The people named on the shirts include teachers, doctors, nurses, carers, social workers and other vital professions, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.

Test captain Joe Root said: "We've waited a long time for this moment, and we wouldn't be here without the West Indies – we are so grateful to them for making the tour happen.

"As we get back to playing the game we love, we want to take the time to honour the brave key workers who went into bat for their country under the toughest circumstances.

"It's only fitting that we use this series as an opportunity to 'raise a bat' in their honour. We'll wear their names with pride."


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