Windies selectors look towards 2007 World Cup
By Tony Cozier
Stabroek News
May 22, 2004

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THE West Indies selectors have sprung their customary surprise, changed their bowling policy and clearly cast their eyes ahead to the 2007 World Cup in choosing their 15 for next month's triangular NatWest Series of one-day internationals with England and New Zealand in England.

The only newcomer is 20-year-old all-rounder Darren Sammy, one of eleven members of the squad 24 or under, who becomes the first St.Lucian picked for the West Indies at senior level.

A right-hand batsman and medium-pace bowler, he was in the West Indies team to the 2002 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand and spent last season in England playing for the MCC with whom he had just completed a tour of Sri Lanka.

After 104 one-day internationals and 123 wickets, Merv Dillon's annoying inconsistency has again cost him his place, at 29 almost certainly for the last time.

Corey Collymore, another seasoned campaigner with 54 one-day internationals, is also ignored after his poor returns in both forms of the game in the preceding series against England.

As they did in the most recent three-match campaign against Bangladesh, the selectors have gone for the youth and the pace of their three fastest bowlers, Tino Best and Fidel Edwards, both 22, and Ravi Rampaul, 19.

Rampaul's 14 such matches have been spread over successive series against Zimbabwe, South Africa, England and Bangladesh but both Best and Edwards were ignored in the high-scoring series against England.

Best made his ODI debut against Bangladesh. Edwards has only played four such matches. Well as they bowled against Bangladesh, it was an inconclusive gauge against international cricket's weakest batting team in a series in which two matches were reduced by half by the weather. But it is a bold selection that recognises the value of wicket-taking strike bowlers.

They and Rampaul will be supported by the medium-pace of left-armer Ian Bradshaw and the batting all-rounders, the two Dwaynes, Smith and Bravo, and Sammy.

Given his chance at the age of 29 this season, Bradshaw's level-headedness with the bat at the finish in the tense one-wicket win in the first match against Bangladesh and his steady bowling have cancelled out his slowness in the field and his weak throwing arm.

Chris Gayle, whose flat, direct, full-length off-spin makes him one of the best bowlers of his type in the abbreviated game, is the one accredited spinner.

Ricardo Powell (off-spin) and Ramanresh Sarwan (leg) have supplied spin in the past when circumstances demand but this team must rely on pace and seam.

The core of the batting remains basically unaltered, revolving around the proven quality of captain Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Gayle.

Devon Smith's Man-of -the-Match performance in the third match against Bangladesh in Grenada on Wednesday clinched his place in preference to Sylvester Joseph, who had three matches in the recent series against England.

The experienced left-hander Wavell Hinds will have to await the second part of the England tour, with its four Tests, for reconsideration. His first major match since a serious groin injury is for the Board XI against the Bangladeshis in Grenada which started yesterday.

Confirming that he is the long-term replacement after 36-year-old Ridley Jacobs finally makes his exit, the little 21-year-old Jamaican Carlton Baugh is also included in the squad. With a tough Test series to follow, with four matches in five weeks, Jacobs will need relief.

The early announcement was in keeping with the tournament's regulations. New Zealand also named their team yesterday.

Each team plays each other three times in the qualifying round leading to the final.

The team: Brian Lara (captain), Carlton Baugh, Tino Best, Ian Bradshaw, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Ridley Jacobs, Ricardo Powell, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devon Smith, Dwayne Smith.


The NatWest Series

Thursday, 24: Old Trafford: England v New Zealand Saturday, 26: Edgbaston: New Zealand v West Indies

Sunday, 27: Trent Bridge: England v West Indies

Tuesday, 29: Riverside: England v New Zealand


Thursday, 1: Headingley: England v West Indies

Saturday, 3: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff: New Zealand v West Indies

Sunday, 4: Bristol: England v New Zealand

Tuesday, 6: Lord's: England v West Indies

Thursday, 8: Rose Bowl, Southampton: New Zealand v West Indies

Saturday, 10: Lord's: The NatWest Series Final . Ends.