Edwards' sore back puts Rampaul in frame
Ravi Rampaul may be in line for a recall to the West Indies team for the third Test in Dominica. The hosts' captain Darren Sammy revealed that Fidel Edwards was complaining of back soreness after rain curtailed a tantalisingly poised second match in Trinidad, making Rampaul's inclusion a distinct possibility.
Having missed selection for the limited overs-portion of the tour due to dengue fever and a shoulder problem, Rampaul returned to the squad ahead of the first Test in Barbados but was lacking in conditioning and match rhythm. However he has trained consistently with the hosts over the two weeks and is now ideally placed to reinforce the XI that acquitted themselves well at Queen's Park Oval on a slow, turning pitch.
"So far we've been using the same combination and it's worked for us," Sammy said. "Fidel has a slight pain in his back so we'll monitor that. If not then Ravi comes in and I know Ravi will do the job for us."
Sammy noted that West Indies' bowling had steadily improved in its discipline and perseverance over the past 18 months, Kemar Roach providing the best evidence of this development by taking 10 wickets for the match in Port-of-Spain, a sterling achievement on any surface but particularly meritorious on a pitch that saw spinners take the new ball in three innings out of four.
"It's not only this series, it's been the last year and a half, there's been a massive improvement in the bowling department," Sammy said. "We can get 20 wickets in Test matches and we bowl out teams ... that was something we were not doing in the past. So definitely the bowling has improved, especially under coach [Ottis] Gibson and it will continue.
"To have a guy like Ravi Rampaul, who took so many wickets for last year on the bench shows we have depth. Kemar has been very good against the Australians and Fidel has been bowling well, without any luck, and I know Ravi is eager for his opportunity."
Assad Fudadin, the Guyanese left-hander, has been called up to the squad for the Dominica Test, while the legspinner Devendra Bishoo has been dropped. The vice-captain Kirk Edwards has not recovered in time from a knee problem to be considered for the final match of the series, his fitness for the England tour that follows a significant factor in the decision. Clyde Butts, the West Indies chairman of selectors, said Fudadin offered solid batting and a medium pace option.
"Fudadin has been a member of the West Indies A Team for a while now and we have seen signs of development and improvement," Butts said. "This year he batted well in the Regional Four-Day Tournament, and made over 500 runs including two centuries. He was very consistent in the middle-order. He can also bowl medium-pace and that is an asset."
As for Bishoo, Sammy said he had told the young spinner not to be too despondent, for he remained part of longer term plans. However Sammy indicated that Bishoo needed to go away and relocate his best touch, having struggled for impact in the first Test against Australia.
"We just had a team talk and what I said to Bishoo was he's been a warrior to us, especially last year, but sometimes you lose form," Sammy said. "I told him I know deep down he will come back stronger because that's the sort of player he is."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here