West Indies axe Samuels for England Test series

Published: Thursday, May 3, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Bridgetown (Barbados):West Indies have surprisingly left batsman Marlon Samuels out of a 15-man squad for the four-Test series in England starting on May 17.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) selectors have chosen a squad combining youth and experience as they seek to rebuild after a disappointing World Cup on home soil.

There are five pacemen and two seam bowling all-rounders, including Ravi Rampaul and Darren Sammy who have played one-dayers and now get a chance to make their Test debuts.

The squad does not include a back-up wicketkeeper for Denesh Ramdin or a specialist spinner.

"We are looking towards the future, and we are looking to rebuild, but we feel that it is wrong to totally change and go that route at this present stage," chairman of selectors Gordon Greenidge said on the WICB official website.

Ramnaresh Sarwan's West Indies team, who travel to England on Tuesday for a three-day warm-up match against Somerset, open the tour at Lord's followed by Tests at Headingley (May 25-29), Old Trafford (June 7-11) and the Riverside Ground (June 15-19).

Sarwan, who was this week named captain to succeed Brian Lara after he retired from international cricket following the World Cup, said it was an opportunity for younger players to show their skills.

"I'm sure they'll be looking forward to it," Sarwan told reporters.

"I'm sure we'll be able to pull together as a team and that the other players will be able to mature on the tour."

It will be West Indies' first competitive action since four successive second round defeats at the World Cup, which led to their Australian coach Bennett King resigning last month.

"The task wasn't easy, especially given the fact that the performance in the Caribbean expected from the .... World Cup was not as successful as we all hoped," said Greenidge.

King's assistant David Moore will take the coaching role in England working with Michael Findlay as team manager.

Nine members of the World Cup squad have been retained while four players with modest Test records - Fidel Edwards, Daren Ganga, Sylvester Joseph, and Runako Morton - are recalled.

Lara's absence means Joseph, who made his Test debut at Old Trafford in 2004, will compete with Runako Morton for a place in the middle order.

Samuels has been omitted along with three other active World Cup players - Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, and Dwayne Smith.

The main focus of the attack will be on pace with Daren Powell, Jerome Taylor and Corey Collymore joined by Fidel Edwards. The 22-year-old Rampaul returns after playing in two one-dayers on the last tour to England.

All-rounder Sammy has yet to play against England but was on the Lord's groundstaff and a member of the squads for the 2004 one-day series and Champions Trophy although he did not play.

Greenidge said that while West Indies had to rebuild for the future he did not think wholesale changes were appropriate.

"Though going that way may have some validity, we feel that we still wish to compete creditably in England, rather than just go through what one might consider the rebuilding process.

"We don't want to have players totally out of their depths. We want to know we can still compete even if we do not win the series, at least give a good account of ourselves," he added.

West Indies will announce separate squads for two Twenty20 internationals and three one-dayers against England.

Test squad:

Ramnaresh Sarwan (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Daren Ganga, Chris Gayle, Sylvester Joseph, Runako Morton, Daren Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy, Devon Smith and Jerome Taylor. Coach: David Moore.


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