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May 9, 2011
Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been confirmed as part of West Indies' squad for the first Test against Pakistan, starting in Guyana on Thursday. The 13-man group also includes the legspinner Devendra Bishoo, who is expected to make his Test debut, along with the fast bowler Fidel Edwards, who hasn't played for his country in two years due to a serious back injury.
The batsman Marlon Samuels is also in the line-up, and if selected he will play his first Test for more than three years, having served his ban for alleged involvement with illegal bookmakers. Of the 15 men chosen for a practice game in Guyana earlier this week, the opener Kraigg Brathwaite and the allrounder Andre Russell missed out on the final Test squad.
Brathwaite will remain in Guyana to work with the batting consultant Desmond Haynes, and his absence means Devon Smith's likely opening partner will be Lendl Simmons, whose only three Tests so far came in early 2009. Brendan Nash will be vice-captain to Darren Sammy, who is hoping to lead West Indies to their first Test victory in 18 Tests.
At least he will have at his disposal the experience of Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, whose international careers appeared to be in doubt when, along with Chris Gayle, they were left out of the squad for the opening one-dayers against Pakistan. Chanderpaul was upset at being dropped and at some of the comments from the WICB chief executive Ernest Hilaire, but has been welcomed back in to the side.
At the other end of the experience scale is Bishoo, who was the leading wicket-taker in the five-match ODI series, with 11 victims at 17.18. He will be keen to make his debut in his home country, and his rise has meant there was no place for Sulieman Benn, who has been West Indies' preferred spinner for most of the past two years.
West Indies are seventh on the Test rankings table, but they will move up to sixth if they win the two-match series against Pakistan. The first Test starts on Thursday in Providence and the second Test begins the following Friday in St Kitts.
Test Squad: Devon Smith, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brendan Nash, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh (wk), Darren Sammy (capt), Fidel Edwards, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?