Sarwan in, Smith out
THREE MATCHES too late!
The West Indies’ selectors have waited until Pakistan have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match Digicel One-Day International series to choose their most reliable batsman in this type of cricket, Ramnaresh Sarwan, for tomorrow’s fourth match at Kensington Oval.
Guyanese Sarwan flew into Barbados yesterday afternoon to replace the out-of-sorts Devon Smith, who has looked like a novice against the Pakistani off-spinners Mohammed Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal with scores of 17, 16 and 0.Sarwan, 30, like fellow former captains Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, fell out of favour with the regional selectors after failing to fire in this year’s World Cup.
A veteran of 166 ODIs, Sarwan has scored 5 400 runs with four centuries at an average of 43.20 and a decent strike rate of 76.43. His average is only bettered by Sir Vivian Richards, who averaged 47.00 in his 187 ODIs after amassing 6 721 runs, in the all-time West Indian One-Day list.
After scores of 75, 21 and 51 on his return to the team for the three-match ODI series in Sri Lanka, which preceded the World Cup, Sarwan went without a half-century in six World Cup innings when he totalled 155 runs at an average of 25.83.
With neither Sarwan nor his experienced compatriot Shivnarine Chanderpaul selected, the selectors have tried Marlon Samuels and Kirk Edwards in the middle order but both have found the going tough, failing to score freely.
Samuels has managed scores of two, 29 and 18 while Edwards, who may move up to open the innings, has scored 28, four and 18 in his three knocks.
The squad has been selected for the fourth ODI only and it is left to be seen whether the selectors will pick Chanderpaul for the fifth and final match before his home fans at the Guyana National Stadium on Thursday.
Chanderpaul has an aggregate of 8 778 runs in 268 ODIs – only Brian Lara has more runs – at an average of 41.60 and a strike rate of 70.74 with 11 centuries.
Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice-captain), Carlton Baugh, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Anthony Martin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons.