West Indies in England 2012 May 5, 2012

West Indies depleted by visa problems


It has emerged that the touring West Indies squad, due to face England in a three-Test series starting in less than two weeks' time, currently comprises only 11 fit men, with three players still to arrive in the UK. Assad Fudadin, Narsingh Deonarine and Marlon Samuels have been delayed by visa issues while Fidel Edwards has a "back niggle" and will not play in their three-day match against Sussex, which was due to begin on Saturday but fell victim to the weather.

Samuels, who has been playing in the IPL with Pune Warriors, is expected in the country imminently, but Fudadin and Deonarine are in Jamaica trying to resolve their visa issues. "The rules have become more stringent due to the Olympics," a West Indies spokesman said, "and we're still working on getting that sorted." The pair do not have a confirmed arrival date.

Under normal circumstances, you might expect a team with just seven days of cricket ahead of a Test series in which they are the overwhelming underdogs to be champing at the bit to gain every chance to acclimatise to their new conditions. But West Indies reacted with an understandably phlegmatic attitude to the abandonment of the first day at Hove, where it was bitterly cold and a far cry from the conditions in they played barely a week ago against Australia in the Caribbean.

While it would be premature to dismiss the prospects of a talented but raw West Indies squad, this does not represent the smoothest start to a tour. The original party was only 15 strong and may require strengthening. The team management insist they have yet to think about reinforcements, but it speaks volumes for their current predicament that 50-year-old Richie Richardson, West Indies' tour manager, admitted he may be obliged to act as 12th man in the current match.

The fast bowler Corey Collymore, 34 and currently plying his trade with Middlesex as a Kolpak registration, might represent another local option, though he would surely be reluctant to turn his back on county cricket for a short-term flirtation with the touring squad.

The niggle to Edwards may prove the most significant issue. The 30-year-old fast bowler, easily the most experienced member of the tourists' attack, missed the final Test against Australia due to the same problem and has long been hampered by back problems. He played no cricket in 2010 after undergoing back surgery.

"It's not bad," Darren Sammy, West Indies' captain, said. "We came here knowing Fidel would be rested for this game; he was rested for the last match. Come the first Test, everybody will be ready.

"Fidel is somebody I know what to expect from. I know what he's going to give and whenever he plays will be ready. Last time he played a game at Lord's he was very unlucky - a few catches went down - and I know he's going to give us 100%, just like all my team-mates. Whether he plays the Lions game or not, I know when that bell rings on the 17th, he will be ready. He'll be the first one to say 'give me the ball'. It will be up to Fidel himself to say how he feels, and what the physio recommends."

Barely a drop of rain fell at Hove after 9am on Saturday, but play was abandoned for the day at 1.40pm. It seemed an oddly ambivalent decision.

"Everybody wants to get on the park," Sammy said. "But that's the weather; we don't have control over that. We're not in the Caribbean, where it's nice and warm. This is England, where it's going to be cold. So we've programmed our minds to get over it. I'm quite used to these conditions, but it's been a while since we've played cricket here. Most of the guys have experience here. It's England; you know it's going to be cold, the ball's going to sting your hands; all that stuff."

Sammy will hope that this tour does not go the way of their disastrous visit in 2009, when West Indies arrived as late replacements for Zimbabwe, lost the first Test inside three days and ended up defeated 2-0 in both the Test and one-day series.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    Did anyone realise that Mitchell Starc has been delayed with visa issues as well,thanks to percieved short comings by Criket Australia?

  • Ganesh on May 8, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    @ TheLight, Kindly tell me what happens in the event of injuries and replacements need to be urgently flown to England. Would the position be "oh you applied too late, sorry I cant help you." I in no way advocate preferential treatment to anyone but my point is simply that in exceptional circumstances or in the interest of a greater good, such issues can be expedited without actually becoming a problem.

  • Roland on May 7, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    WICB incompetence and mismanagement.

    Visas are issued in a stipulated time frame. It is obvious that they applied too late.

  • Ganesh on May 7, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    After a scathing welcome in the English Press, the Englishmen seem to be running scared. So here comes the English Embassy to their Cricket Team's rescue. What can possibly justify 3 international sportsmen having visa problems? Btw, Sammy MUST be overjoyed....

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    Why do so much people believe that the WICB has the power to issue visas for entry into the UK? Let's put the blame where it's due. The WICB is not to blame for this UK's mess. O! If every country were like the Caribbean Islands! We accommmodate more than 22,000,000 tourists each year, without all this visa kaffuffle. England should look and learn how this thing is done. In the mean time, they should start building dome stadiums to overcome all the rain and cold of their Spring. Our team is all warmed up, so LET'S PLAY BALL!

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 18:22 GMT

    There is no chance Samuels, plans to defect and represent England. Therefore his visa application should be granted ASAP. Most of the WI public hate the guy just as they do gayle but surely these boys would have done better joining up with Phil Siimmons and applying for Irish passports 3 years ago.

  • Derek on May 6, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    I'm not surprised the WI most erratic bowler has back problems this might help him to focus on BOWLING rather than efforts to be the FASTEST in the world. As Holding observed a test side should not really be overworking its quickest bowlers by asking them to bowl to many overs or too long a spell. But then again the more a bowler focuses on the stumps and either bowls the opponent or induce him into an error and gets him out the less work he has to do. Bowling 30 overs at speed only to be edges into the boundary or watch your skipper drop simple catches does not help. On the visa issue; why has it been left for so long to submit these applications? Surely the squad was selected before they were due to board the plane; so why is it that one half can be here while other's documentations are yet to be processed? It would do no harm applying for a visa even if that player was then not selected the real costs might just be less.

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Ok,so the West Indies will be slaughtered 3-0 by the rampaging English who is using these test matches for the warm up for the South African series,so what else is new?.And no,rain will not save them,and yes,we can blame the board,and the coach,and the captain,anything else new to predict and add?I guess the next thing alot of peoples here would be calling for the team to come back home,correct?But ,like alot of you alluded to is true,they are a beaten and battered team even before a ball is bowled,after all cricket is NOT played on the field,it is played by what happens behind the scenes,on paper and did i forget by predictions.

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    I think Sammy is just about to learn what it REALLY means to be a touring West Indian captain these days. England will be where his eternal optimism dies. But who knows, maybe that will make a better leader of him.

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    As indicated by the article ' W.I, DEPLETED BY VISA PROBLEM', this only epitomizes the many shortsightness that plagued W.I cricket over the past 20 years and reflect the abilities of the administrators who are in charge. With this present group, there wont be any significant changes in the near future. After each tour, there is always going to be the same mantra, 'the team appears to be turning the corner'. Does any knowledgeable cricketer, really believe that this team can provide any level of gritty competition for the English team? The test matches against W.I, are being used as warm- up matches for the real test matches in later summer - South Africa.

  • No featured comments at the moment.