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March 24, 2005
All but one of the 14-man squad named by the West Indies selectors for the first Test against South Africa in Guyana have signed match/tour contracts and so will be available to play. However, Jerome Taylor, who was due to sign the contract, has been ruled out of the first Test due to a stiffening of the back which will prevent him from being able to perform at his best. The board's medical panel has advised Taylor to rest for four to six weeks as a precautionary measure.
That the contracts have been signed ends speculation that some players might go on strike in support of the seven who had been left out because of their contracts with Cable & Wireless.
Meanwhile, Dinanath Ramnarine, the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), was due to arrive in Barbados to try to find a solution to the stand-off and was expected to meet Teddy Griffith, the board's president. "We certainly want to resolve this issue because this impasse is not doing anything good for anyone," Ramnarine told the Trinidad Express. "We are trying to compromise as much as possible so we can make sure that the best team is out there. We are still optimistic."
Roger Braithwaite, the board's chief executive, looked relieved that at least he would have a side to take the field. "I don't want to speculate on anything WIPA may have been doing," he told The Nation. "All I can speak to is that the players are eager. They are here. They are committed to playing for the West Indies and have indicated that commitment by signing the contracts."
"The fact that the players have turned up and they are eager and looking forward to representing the West Indies speaks to what has been going on," Brathwaite continued. "Obviously we have a situation that not all the players are here ... we understand those reasons why. Hopefully, at some point in the future when they become eligible, they will be taken into consideration.
"We have the best team here available to represent the West Indies, guys who are hungry and looking forward to the opportunity of representing the West Indies and making a name for themselves in Guyana."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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