27 April 1999
Powell gets nod
The refreshing new boldness and imagination that has marked West Indies selections this season was confirmed yesterday when the young Jamaican, Ricardo Powell, was named as the retired Carl Hooper's replacement for the forthcoming World Cup in England.
The 20-year-old Powell's patent all-round potential as stroke-playing middle-order batsman, off-spin bowler and electrifying fielder have outweighed his lack of experience of One-Day cricket at any level and of English conditions.
His fellow Jamaican, the teenager Chris Gayle who bats left-handed and bowls off-spin, would have been the only other genuine contender as a batting all-rounder. Others, more experienced, such as the Barbadians Roland Holder and Philo Wallace and the Antiguan Dave Joseph are purely batsmen.
At least they have stuck to like-for-like this time. When Hooper also withdrew from the squad just prior to the last World Cup in India and Pakistan in 1996, the panel of the time replaced him with fast bowler Cameron Cuffy.
Powell has yet to represent Jamaica in a One-Day game and has played only six first-class matches. He owes his selection principally to scores of 80 and 114 not out against Barbados and his eye-catching fielding in the Busta Cup tournament.
Hooper's retirement has left a tremendous void in the team that cannot be immediately filled by anyone. But, as manager Clive Lloyd noted on Sunday, it gives Powell the chance to make a name for himself in the game's most visible and prestigious tournament.
The West Indies leave for England next Sunday and will be based in the west coast city of Bristol. They play three warm-up matches, against Gloucestershire in Bristol, May 8, Warwickshire in Birmingham, May 10, and Surrey at The Oval in London, May 12, before starting their official programme against Pakistan in Bristol, May 16.
The West Indies are in Group B with Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan and Scotland. The teams in Group A are England, Kenya, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
Source :: The Barbados Nation (http://www.nationnews.com/)