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May 26, 2005
West Indies have suffered an early blow ahead of the first Test against Pakistan in Barbados, with injuries to Dwayne Bravo and Ian Bradshaw. Bravo is suffering from an ankle injury, which he sustained during the third one-dayer in St Lucia. Bradshaw, who had been expected to make his Test debut on his home ground, is suffering from a viral infection.
"It's not a serious injury but under normal circumstances [it will take] probably about a seven-day treatment cycle," Bennett King, the West Indian coach, was quoted as saying in The Trinidad Express. "As a young person, his [recovery] powers are quite good, so he's made significant progress - but again, we'll know in the morning."
King hinted at a selection from outside the official 13-man squad. "We haven't got a lot of choices in terms of allrounders that we can slot into his position but we are exploring options in terms of what we believe will be the best make-up of the side. There's a possibility that someone new could come into the squad and there is a possibility that we could go in with four fast bowlers."
Giving his assessment on Bradshaw, King told CMC Sports, "He has a little bit of a viral infection. He went to the doctor yesterday [Tuesday] but it was just precautionary for him sitting out today and we'll make a decision on him tomorrow."
King has also cautioned his team about Danish Kaneria, who is likely to play his first match in the Caribbean. West Indies struggled in the one-dayers against the legspin of Shahid Afridi. "We are putting ourselves in positions where we can still win matches. We've got to make sure that we keep doing that.," King was quoted as saying in The Trinidad Express. "I know the one-day games are different to the Test matches but certainly we got through their order at various times. One of the things that we haven't discounted is the effect of Kaneria. He has a lot of threats for us and we are very cognisant of that."
Kaneria, who didn't play in the one-day series, has taken 121 wickets at 29.79 in 26 Tests. However, he has only played in two Tests against West Indies, taking three wickets at 63 apiece.
Pakistan won their first one-day series in the Caribbean 3-0, leaving West Indies in dire straits and in desperate need of a win in the two-Test series. "I felt that in two of the Test matches against South Africa we didn't do it and we were right out of those games," King asserted. "We have to make sure that we stay in games as long as we can and hopefully come out on the other side and get some wins on the board. But we've got to make sure our recipe and all the basics of what we do is right."
King also brushed aside claims made by Saleem Altaf, the Pakistan team manager, that West Indies lacked real firepower. "I guess if they want to underestimate us, that's their choice, but certainly we have been working hard."
Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, has maintained that his team will not take West Indies lightly in spite of whitewashing them in the one-dayers. "Every Test match starts 50/50," he said. "I don't care who it is against, whether it's Australia, West Indies or even Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. You've got to go into a Test match thinking that way. The whole point of the game is that you start equal."
And Woolmer continued: "As coach of Warwickshire I watched Brian Lara score 500 runs [in an innings] and he got 2000-odd runs in the season. He is a very fine player and he can take the game away from you. We will bowl the lines and lengths that we hope are necessary to make batting difficult for the West Indies."
On a pitch which is expected to have a little more bounce than the one used for the third Test against South Africa, Woolmer disclosed that his team might expand their bowling line-up. "On a pitch like this where it offers everyone a little bit ... I think you've got to go with a balanced attack. I think we're going to go with five bowlers."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala