Trio might miss practice match June 20, 2007

Windies personnel missing ahead of ODI series

Dwayne Smith, along with Austin Richards and Lendl Simmons, will miss the match against the England Lions at Worcester. © AFP
West Indies are about to change white gear and maroon balls for maroon gear and white balls as they move into the limited-overs section of their England tour but the consequent changes in personnel are still not in place.

Austin Richards, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Smith have been included in the squad of 14 for the three warm-up matches (one 50-overs-an-innings and three Twenty20s), to be followed by two Twenty20 and three ODIs against England. But the team's media manager Imran Khan said yesterday the three are not expected to arrive in London until the morning of June 21, exactly a week after they were named.

It means they will miss the critical preparation of a 50-overs-an-innings match against a strong England 'A' team, now known as the England Lions, at Worcester on the same day. It is the only one over this distance prior to the three ODIs on July 1, 4 and 7.

Their first chance of match practice is a Twenty20 affair against county team, Derbyshire, at Derby on Sunday. There is another Twenty20 match, against a Professional Cricketers' Association team at Arundel on Tuesday before the back-to-back internationals against England at the Oval.

Khan could offer no explanation for the delay which appears to be yet another appalling lack of administrative planning. The earlier arrival of Marlon Samuels, the replacement for injured captain Ramnaresh Sarwan, was deferred because he lacked a visa. He was too late for the match against the MCC at Durham University that followed the second Test, putting him out of contention for the third.

Since the four players omitted from the original squad for the four Tests leave today and Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards and Darren Sammy, who remain, are carrying injuries, it seems the only way West Indies can raise eleven for the England Lions match is to seek help from West Indians currently on professional contracts with league teams in England.

Gareth Boohai, a virtually unknown Trinidadian who is playing league cricket in the area, joined the team for the fourth Test during which he carried out attendant duties. Bravo's ankle injury limited him to bowling two overs in the fourth and final Test that ended yesterday. Edwards also wrenched his right ankle during his 23 overs in the Test from which Sammy was eliminated by a right hamstring strain, sustained while batting on the last day of the third Test.

Fast bowler Ravi Rampaul, who strained a groin muscle after bowling 3.4 overs in his only match on tour, against the MCC, on June 1, is retained in the one-day 14. He has made a gradual recovery and Khan said he is expected to be fit enough to take his place in tomorrow's match.