April 15, 2003

Sarwan back, Gayle still left out

Ramnaresh Sarwan and 20-year-old offspinner Omari Banks have been drafted into the West Indies squad for the second Test against Australia in Trinidad starting on Saturday (April 19).

If the recall of Sarwan, who has recovered from a fractured finger in his left hand, was not surprising, then the continued omission of Chris Gayle was. Gayle was left out of the squad for the Guyana Test after he opted to play in a double-wicket competition rather than the Carib Beer Series final. His continued exclusion indicates that despite comments to the contrary, he is still very much out of favour with the selectors.

The 15-man party retains the entire squad chosen for the first Test, including the injured Ridley Jacobs. A decision will be taken on his fitness in the next 24 hours, although it seems extremely unlikely that he will recover from his groin strain in time to play. Jamaica's 20-year-old Carlton Baugh is likely to be brought in for his Test debut.

The inclusion of Banks is a reward for a solid first-class season in which he took 25 wickets at 36.40 and scored 270 runs at 33.75 for the Leeward Islands. He is the first cricketer from Anguilla to be picked for a senior West Indies side.

West Indies squad Wavell Hinds, Devon Smith, Daren Ganga, Brian Lara (capt), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Ridley Jacobs/Carlton Baugh (wk), David Bernard, Omari Banks, Vasbert Drakes, Mervyn Dillon, Pedro Collins, Jermaine Lawson.