Continuing doubts about the bowling actions of spinner Shane Shillingford and allrounder Marlon Samuels have contributed to the West Indies’ chaotic preparation for the first Test against New Zealand, starting at the University Oval on Tuesday.
While most of the West Indies squad travelled from India to New Zealand last week, Shillingford and Samuels – accompanied by coach Ottis Gibson – diverted to Perth where the bowlers’ actions were subjected to individual testing.
A report on the legality of their actions is expected within 14 days and both are free to continue playing in the meantime.
Gibson said Samuels will almost certainly play in the first Test as a middle-order batsman but he is not sure whether Shillingford will be chosen as the West Indies’ frontline spinner.
“When we travelled back on the plane we spoke about it,” Gibson said.
“It’s tough for (Shillingford and Samuels). But I thought they coped with it quite well and will definitely come into the reckoning for this Test.
“Marlon bats for us more so than bowls so it shouldn’t be an issue for him.
“But with Shane, I’ll speak to him again and see how he is.”
Compounding the tourists’ problems, opening batsman Kraigg Braithwaite, who was a late injury replacement for Chris Gayle, will likely miss the first Test because his arrival in New Zealand has been delayed by visa problems.
That may leave Kirk Edwards as the only choice to open the batting with Kieran Powell.
Shillingford and Samuels were required to undergo testing on their bowling actions after being reported in the second Test against India at Mumbai.
“The initial feedback from the people doing the testing was positive,” Gibson said.
“The ICC set these rules or guidelines and the players have adhered to everything they were asked to do.”
The West Indies may need Shillingford to play because their bowling attack is already short-handed.
Tino Best will open the bowling with either Shannon Gabriel or Sheldon Cottrell, who have five Tests between them, with captain Darren Sammy providing a third seam option.
The tourists will go into the first of three Tests against New Zealand with a limited preparation and little time to acclimatise from the heat of India – where they lost both Tests by an innings – to the cool of New Zealand’s South Island.
“The biggest problem at the moment is getting everyone sleeping properly,” Gibson said.
“They are still up at 2 or 3am. It’s been a bit disjoined but it’s up to us to accept that.”