A?visa snag has put Kraigg Brathwaite’s return to the Test arena on hold and doubtful for next week’s opening Test in New Zealand.
Up to last night, Brathwaite was still frustrated in Barbados awaiting the green light from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) regarding the processing of a New Zealand visa and an Australian transit visa before departing the Caribbean.
His father Arleigh Brathwaite told WEEKENDSPORT, that the young opening batsman could be doubtful for the opening Test that starts on Tuesday (Monday evening local time).
He was of the view there should have been greater collaboration between the New Zealand and West Indies boards to have this issue fast-tracked.
If Brathwaite gets clearance from the New Zealand immigration early next week, he should be a shoo-in for the second Test that starts in Wellington on December 11.
Brathwaite, who turns 21 on Sunday, is to replace the injured Chris Gayle, knowing that this represents another chance to prove his worth on the international stage.
Yesterday, Brathwaite made just nine off 32 balls playing for the West Indies High Performance Centre against a West Indies Under-19 side at the 3Ws Oval.
The obdurate little opener, who has scored heavily at schoolboy level, most recently made his mark on the A Team tour of India with three scores over 80, including an unbeaten hundred in the two unofficial “Tests”.
It seems likely that another Barbadian, Kirk Edwards – who like, Brathwaite, has played nine Tests – will now get the chance to resurrect his international career.
Edwards, 29, has batted at No. 3 in every Test match he has played, but has the experience of opening, having come in at the top of the order in six of the nine One-Day Internationals he has turned out for the West Indies.
He is now likely to open the batting at the University Oval in Dunedin with the left-handed Nevisian Kieran Powell.
This is bound to be a tough series for the West Indies. They have just one series win in New Zealand in the last 50 years, the only success in that period coming when Courtney Walsh led them to a 1-0 victory in a two-Test series in 1995.
Since then the West Indies were beaten 2-0 in both 1999 and 2006, while the last series in 2008 was drawn 0-0.
This is at a time when beating New Zealand has become commonplace. The West Indies and Sri Lanka are the only two major teams not to have a series victory there in the last 15 years.