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Bajan cricketers against venue change


EZRA STUART in Jamaica

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A LATE switch in venue has thrown today’s second semi-final between hosts Jamaica and Barbados in the WICB Regional One-Day Tournament  into controversy.
The match was originally slated for the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Complex, but less than 24 hours before the scheduled start the West Indies Cricket Board yesterday belatedly shifted it to Sabina Park.
In explaining the reason for the change, a WICB Press release cited concerns with the possibility of inclement weather in the north-west of Jamaica, stemming from the approach of Tropical Storm Richard.
“The change was made after an assessment of the weather forecast of torrential rain and flood conditions as a result of Tropical Storm Richard, which is expected to affect the north-western part of Jamaica where Trelawny is located,”
the release said.
The release further stated that the decision was taken after consultation between the WICB and the Jamaica Cricket Association.
Weather forecasts
It was also pointed out in the release that the decision to switch venues was actually made by the WICB’s technical committee, comprising director of cricket, Tony Howard; chairman of the cricket committee Joel Garner and chairman of selectors Clyde Butts.
Garner is also president of the Barbados Cricket Association and Howard is a former team manager.
“It is expected that there will be rain in Kingston tomorrow [today] but based on weather forecasts there is a greater likelihood of play in Kingston than Trelawny,” the release added.
But the Barbados team, managed by former long-serving West Indies opener Desmond Haynes, are apparently not happy with the WICB’s move and were even considering lodging a protest as they were forced to check out of their hotel and make the three-hour trip back to the capital Kingston the same afternoon.
Barbados, who were practising when they got the news around midday, would have benefited with a free passage into Sunday’s final, should there be a wash-out (please see box).
 The Barbadian players practised for two and a half hours in very humid conditions yesterday in Trelawny where the outfield was reportedly “dry and fit for play”.
Whereas the Barbados squad had remained in Trelawny after their final preliminary round match against the High Performance Centre (HPC) on Tuesday, the Jamaica side had not taken the three-hour drive to the town of Falmouth where the ground is located.
Barbados, by virtue of topping their zone and gaining more points (11) than Jamaica, who were runners-up in their zone with seven, would have qualified for the final in the event of a no-result.
Decision
Weather aside, once there is play, Barbados will have to decide whether to use teenager Kraigg Brathwaite, who has eked out 16 and eight in his two matches, or Jason Haynes, who made a “duck” in his only match against HPC, to partner Dale Richards at the top.
There is also concern with the form of all-rounder Kevin Stoute, who has two “ducks” and was unfortunately run out for five in the last match against the HPC.
With off-spinner Marlon Graham likely to play to back up the very economical left-arm spinners Sulieman Benn and captain Ryan Hinds, unless Kirk Edwards is promoted to open, Stoute may be left out.
Richards, Hinds, Edwards and Jonathan Carter have all posted half-centuries while the usually dashing Dwayne Smith is yet to fire for the second straight year in the tournament.
Barbados’ batting will face a stern test from Jamaica’s spin twins of Nikita Miller (left-arm) and Odean Brown (leg spin) as well as Gayle (off), with the exciting all-rounder André Russell, David Bernard and left-armer Krishmar Santokie providing the seam attack.
Jamaica’s batting will be led by captain Chris Gayle, who has hammered two half-centuries in three matches, the free-scoring Xavier Marshall, and new West Indies vice-captain Brendan Nash.

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