England have welcomed Otis Gibson back into their coaching set-up for the three match Test series against the West Indies that begins next month. Gibson will take on the role of bowling coach, after the incumbent David Saker was told he would not be required for the tour.
Saker has been lambasted over the past few months, as people have pointed to his recent record of failing to coax the best from England’s pacemen. The Australian has already announced his intentions to stand down in September to take up a coaching role with the Renegades in the Big Bash, but it now looks unlikely that he will be able to exit on his own terms.
Many will be delighted to see the return of Gibson to the England set-up. His knowledge of the Caribbean should be invaluable as England embark on what they hope will be a moral boosting tour, after a shambolic winter.
England MD Paul Downton has stressed that Gibson’s appointment is at the moment only a temporary role for the West Indies trip. Although I, like many other England fans, would be delighted to see him take up the role full tiem once again.
Gibson was previously England bowling coach between 2007 and 2010, and oversaw some great England bowling performances, including victory in the 2009 Ashes series. In the intervening years, Gibson took up the role as West Indies head coach, and while results were not as expected, England will hope to benefit from his inside knowledge.
If Gibson can refocus England’s seam attack for the upcoming tour, then I see no reason not to reinstate him into the role on a permanent basis. He will have a talented crop of fast bowlers to work with, including rookie Mark Wood. The Durham man is blessed with natural pace from a whippy action, and Gibson will be charged with honing him for Test cricket, as well as overseeing the return to form of both Stuart Broad and James Anderson.