ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – WICB President’s XI and New Zealand played to a draw on the final day of their three-day tour match at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground (SVRCG) yesterday.
Scores: NEW ZEALAND 149 (Kane Williamson 55, Kruger van Wyk 34; Kemar Roach 4-34, Veerasammy Permaul 3-34) and 181 for eight (Brendon McCullum 51, Kruger van Wyk 38 not out, Shane Shillingford 5-77).
WICB PRESIDENT’S XI 326 (Narsingh Deonarine 106, Shiv Chanderpaul 51, Assad Fudadin 38, Devon Thomas 32, Shane Shillingford 25; Daniel Vettori 6-48, Neil Wagner 3-65).
Meanwhile, West Indies selectors yesterday announced a largely predictable squad for the opening Test against New Zealand starting at SVRCG on Wednesday, with the erratic Denesh Ramdin returning as vice-captain but no room found for speedster Fidel Edwards.
The 13-man squad represents the core of players that toured England recently when West Indies were soundly beaten 2-0 in the three-Test series.
Effervescent fast bowler Tino Best, who struck a record-breaking 95 batting at number 11 in the third Test at Birmingham, retains his spot as does Narsingh Deonarine and Assad Fudadin who played just one Test on the England tour.
Deonarine would have enhanced his chances significantly with a superb 106 for the WICB President’s XI on the second day of the three-day tour match against New Zealand on Saturday.
Fudadin, meanwhile, scored 28 at number three in his only innings of his debut Test at Birmingham, and managed just scores 26 and 12 in one-day games for West Indies A against India A last month. He got 38 in the three-day match against New Zealand.
Edwards, however, the most experienced of the Windies bowling attack with 158 wickets from 54 Tests, has been omitted.
The right-armer played a single Test on the England tour, taking one wicket at Lord’s as West Indies lost by five wickets, before being dropped for the remaining matches.
Fellow Barbadian fast bowler Kemar Roach, who bowled outstandingly against New Zealand in the three-day tour match, has returned to the side after recovering from the shin injury that ended his England tour prematurely.
He joins Best, Ravi Rampaul and captain Darren Sammy as the seamers in the squad.
Sunil Narine, who went wicket-less maiden Test at Birmingham, has been included again with fellow off-spinner Shane Shillingford overlooked.
Vice-captain Kirk Edwards’s ill-fated tour of England, which yielded 20 runs from eight innings has resulted in him left out along with stylish left-hander Darren Bravo who is injured.
Edwards failed to redeem himself at the weekend, scoring just three from six balls in the three-day game against the Kiwis.
Ramdin, whose now infamous jibe at Sir Vivian Richards during the Birmingham Test saw him fined by the International Cricket Council, will now serve as Sammy’s deputy in place of Edwards.
Despite his unbeaten 107 against England last month – only his second hundred in a 45-Test career – the 27-year-old continues to average a modest 23 in Test cricket.
As expected, opener Chris Gayle returns to the Test squad and is now poised to play his first match in 19 months following the end of his controversial impasse with the West Indies Cricket Board.
SQUAD – Darren Sammy (captain), Denesh Ramdin (vice captain), Adrian Barath, Tino Best, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach and Marlon Samuels.