West Indies' selectors have decided to rest Brian Lara for the three-match one-day series against Pakistan. While announcing the 13-man squad, the selectors cited a busy schedule and the importance of having Lara totally fit for the the forthcoming Tests against Pakistan as reasons for his exclusion.
Lara has been struggling with a few niggling injuries and West Indies' coach Bennett King said that Lara was too valuable a player to risk further injury. "We want to see Brian play for as long as we can," King said. "Sometimes people of his age have to be managed differently. He has been a great player over a long period of time. If we want to see him for another couple of years in West Indies, we have to manage him in the short-term future correctly as well. We receommended the rest to him, but he wanted to play. From our point of view, the future and what we are trying to do with the young side that we have, it is important that his knowledge stays with us for as long as it can."
After a humiliating whitewash in the recently concluded series against South Africa, the selectors decided to experiment with different combinations during the forthcoming series and recalled Wavell Hinds and Pedro Collins to bolster the line-up. Joey Carew, the convenor of selectors, said, "His [Lara's] absence puts a lot of additional responsibility on the team and we look forward to them taking up this challenge."
West Indies, who lost the Test series against South Africa 0-2, and the one-day series 0-5, are keen to turn things around when the Pakistan series begins. "We have to put the South Africa series behind us," Carew said, "and take what we learnt from it into the matches against the Pakistanis and I look forward to some measure of success in this series."
Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach, said he would not be underestimating West Indies. "We think [they] are a very good team," Woolmer said on the eve of the first one-dayer at St John's. "They have obviously had a tough time against South Africa,but I think that's in the past. We're not underestimating them in any way, and we're looking forward to a good contest."
Neither team managed to net at Arnos Vale, where the match will be played, after heavy rains left the facilities sodden. Both sides had to resort to throw-downs on the main outfield, and fielding drills.
Squad 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Wavell Hinds, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul (capt), 5 Xavier Marshall, 6 Runako Morton, 7 Dwayne Smith, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Courtney Browne (wk), 10 Corey Collymore, 11 Daren Powell, 12 Pedro Collins, 13 Ian Bradshaw.