West Indies' hopes to win their first game of the 5-match ODI series, after trailing by 2-0, have been shattered by reports suggesting that as many as three pivotal players will be missing in action in the third ODI of the series, supposed to be held at Windsor Park on Friday.
However, that is not all. It is expected that batsman and former skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan and slow-left arm bowler Nikita Miller will be out of action for the next two-three weeks, whereas fast-bowler Kemar Roach will be able to re-join the side only at the start of the test series, which follows the ODI series.
Medical scans have revealed that Sarwan has sustained a Grade 1 hamstring tear, whereas Miller is suffering from a side strain, and Roach is recuperating from a troublesome ankle.
Left-handed batsman Darren Bravo, the younger brother of West Indies vice captain and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, has been brought back from the A-Team squad currently touring Bangladesh to boost the batting reserves. All-rounder Dave Bernard Jr has also been added to give some depth to the batting and the bowling.
West Indies captain Chris Gayle felt the replacements were more than capable. He however, was more concerned about the need for the home team to rebound from the injury setbacks, and win to stay alive in the series.
"We had a few positives in the previous match, particularly the way Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo batted, and I am hoping that we can carry them into the match," said Gayle.
"I think the bowlers have been doing very well, although South Africa have made two big totals because the pitches have been good, and they are bowling to experienced batsmen that know how to manipulate the ball," stated the southpaw from Jamaica.
He added: "It's now up to us, the batsmen, to play our part. I think we have been let down with our batting in the middle period of the innings, when rotation of the strike is very important."
"Once we put that kind of pressure on ourselves at that stage, it's always going to be difficult for the batsmen coming lower down, so we need to work on this as quickly as possible," he said.
On their previous trip to the Caribbean, South Africa completed a 5-0 sweep in the ODI series, and if the scattered showers forecast stay away, and they can complete a victory in the third ODI, they could repeat this achievement. Windsor Park hosted its first two ODIs last year, when Bangladesh took advantage of a West Indies side ravaged by industrial action by the leading players because of unsatisfactory terms and conditions of engagement. In both matches, the pitch appeared to be batsman friendly, which sets the stage for a high-scoring game.
West Indies: Chris Gayle (capt), Dwayne Bravo, Sulieman Benn, Dave Bernard Jr, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Dale Richards, Darren Sammy, Jerome Taylor
South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (capt), Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, Loots Bosman, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, Abraham de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Alviro Pietersen, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof van der Merwe