Samuels ditched for England tour
Marlon Samuels has been dropped from the 15-man squad for the four-Test series in England which starts next week. There are few surprises in the choices, although there is no back-up wicketkeeper or specialist spinner in the side. Ravi Rampaul returns while there is an overdue call-up for allrounder Darren Sammy.
Gordon Greenidge, the former opener and current convenor of selectors, put his faith in the side when he explained the selection. "The task has not been easy, especially given the fact that the performance for the recently-completed World Cup wasn't as great as we had all hoped," he said during the announcement on local television. "We feel that this squad should perform credibly. We feel we have a good mix, and we're hoping that this mix will start the ball rolling as far as the redevelopment or the re-defining of West Indies cricket for the future."
Greenidge also said he would address the squad prior to their departure regarding reports of indiscipline during the World Cup.
Former West Indies selector Joey Carew expressed some surprise at the squad. "I can't criticise the selections. The fact that [Marlon] Samuels and [Pedro] Collins are not there is noticeable," he told T&T Express. "I thought they would have chosen a spinner, Dave Mohammed, but they may think he is not up to Test standard."
Ramnaresh Sarwan, the newly appointed West Indies captain, insisted that the team needed support. " I think it is important that the team gets the support which it needs to take West Indies cricket forward," he said, while indicating that the team would struggle in the absence of Brian Lara.
"I think it is an opportunity, obviously Brian was a tremendous player for us and a tremendous player for the world. I think that it is an opportunity for the younger players to actually show their skills and what they are made of. I am sure that they will be looking forward to it. It is very important for us to play as a team, as I have said before, and it cannot be a one-man show. I am sure that we will be able to pull together as a team and that the other players will be able to mature on the tour."
In regards to criticism of his game, Sarwan said the captaincy was an opportunity to step up. "Obviously, I have got out in different fashions - playing rash strokes - and maybe this is a blessing is disguise to give me more responsibility and this is something which I think that I need. So it is something which I am looking forward too and I am going to try and make the best of it."
The side leaves the Caribbean on May 8 and plays one three-day warm-up match against Somerset before the Lord's Test on May 17. The squad for the three ODIs and two Twenty20 matches which follow the Tests will be named later.
West Indies squad Ramnaresh Sarwan (capt), Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Daren Ganga, Chris Gayle, Sylvester Joseph, Runako Morton, Daren Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Darren Sammy, Devon Smith, Jerome Taylor, Ravi Rampaul.