Part of providing exposure to emerging players January 13, 2006

West Indies A to play Pakistan in England

Tony Cozier

West Indies A are to play a two-day match against Pakistan on their tour of England next July and August on a schedule that includes four three-day matches against the counties. There is no match against their England counterparts and two one-day matches are still to be finalised.

The tour, which is in keeping with the stated West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) policy of providing emerging players with international exposure, is the fourth planned over the period of a year. The A team visited Sri Lanka last June and July and will host the England Academy, the A team equivalent, between February 15-March 19 for two four-day Tests and five one-day matches.

Sri Lanka A are expected in the Caribbean in May and June on an itinerary still to be finalised. The visit to Sri Lanka last June and July was disrupted by the dispute between the WICB and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) but saw three four-day "Tests" and five one-day matches played against Sri Lanka A.

The WICB placed emphasis on such exchanges after it scrapped the inclusion of foreign A teams and the West Indies Under-23 from the domestic first-class tournament in 2004. The last A team tour of England in 2002 included 13 members who had either played or were to play Test cricket. But it was a disaster that severely damaged the reputation of West Indies cricket there.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack reported that "their [the West Indies' players] behaviour made more impact than their cricket". It added: "It was a gloomy tour which demonstrated how badly the gleaming pride of past West Indies sides had rusted". Both Joel Garner, the manager, and Gus Logie, the coach, were critical of players' attitudes and Tino Best, Sulieman Benn and Runako Morton were all penalised by the WICB's disciplinary committee for misdemeanours on the tour. This summer's tour is a chance to put matters right.

England Academy in the West Indies:

February 19-21: Warm-up match, Antigua
February 24-27: v West Indies 'A', Antigua
March 3-6: v West Indies 'A', Beausejours Stadium, St.Lucia
March 9 and 11: One-day matches v West Indies 'A', Beausejour Stadium
March 14, 17 and 19: One-day matches, Three Ws Oval, Barbados

West Indies 'A' in England:

July 21-23: v Durham, Chester-le-Street
July 26-28 v Leicestershire, Leicester
August 2-4: v Warwickshire, Edgbaston
August 6 and 9: One-day matches to be arranged
August 12-13: v Pakistan, Shenley
August 16-18: v Nottinghamshire, Trent Bridge.