The West Indies have been forced into assembling a new-look side for the opening Test against Bangladesh, starting at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex on Thursday.
A contract dispute with players led to a boycott by the 13-member squad which was announced on Monday, protesting outstanding payments and other issues.
But the West Indies Cricket Board searched high and low throughout the Caribbean, and has found 15 players willing to don the maroon cap. The website of the team's official sponsors Digicel carried photos of 11 of the players taking part in a training session late on Wednesday at the ground. The practising squad included several players with Test experience with the most prominent being Darren Sammy.
The all-rounder played in the T20 World Cup, but was strangely left out of the recent ODI home series against India. Fast bowler Tino Best has also earned a recall, after four years in the cricket wilderness. Ironically, Best's previous Test appearance was in similar circumstances four years ago, when a dispute over image and sponsorship rights also forced a boycott by the elite players.
There is also a recall for the 36-year-old left-handed batsman Floyd Reifer, whose last Test was a decade ago against South Africa at Centurion. He is expected to be named captain. Fast bowler Kemar Roach, who has appeared in two ODIs and one Twenty20 International, has also agreed to appear, as well as fellow fast bowler Nelon Pascal and opening batsman Dale Richards.
Tino Best, Darren Sammy, and Dale Richards were not quite who Bangladesh were expecting to play in the first Test. “We would like to play against Gayle, Chanderpaul and others. We want to play them because we can learn so many things when those guys are batting or bowling,” Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said.
Rain delays start of first Test
Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat on the rain-affected opening day. Not a ball was bowled before the scheduled lunch interval, after intermittent rain delayed the start of play. However, visitors were 42 for no loss in 18 overs at the time of press. Agencies