SA in West Indies

Windies summon new blood

2010-06-05 15:34
Chris Gayle (File)

Port-of-Spain - Injury-hit West Indies have included Shane Shillingford and Nelon Pascal for the opening Test of three against South Africa, starting next Thursday at the Queen's Park Oval.

Shillingford and Pascal have gained their places following noteworthy performances for Windward Islands in the West Indies domestic first-class competition, and for West Indies 'A' on their recent trip to Bangladesh.

Shillingford, a 27-year-old off-spinner from the Nature Island of Dominica, has finally gained the nod, after not being considered over the last decade because of a suspect bowling action.

He was called three times in a West Indies domestic first-class match nine years ago by former international umpire Steve Bucknor.

But the revision of the law on throwing three years later, allowing spin bowlers a 15-degree flex in their elbows on delivery, has benefitted him, and he has not been called since.

If he plays, Shillingford would be only the fifth West Indies Test player from Dominica, following his unrelated namesakes Irvine and the late Grayson Shillingford, as well as Norbert Phillip and Adam Sanford, who gained his place when residing in Antigua and playing for Leeward Islands.

Sulieman Benn has been the West Indies' main spin option for their last 10 Tests, but some hard feelings may still be lingering following his recent bust-up with captain Chris Gayle.

It could pave the way for Shillingford to be given the opportunity to exploit the South Africans' perceived susceptibility to off-spin.

Pascal, a 23-year-old fast bowler from the Spice Isle of Grenada, could share the new ball with Kemar Roach if he is chosen, and add some fire-power to an attack that appears toothless without Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor, whose left hip injury has again flared up.

Pascal was selected for West Indies' ill-starred tour of England last year, and played in the warm-up matches against Essex and Derby.

He also played one ODI against Bangladesh last August, when the leading players revolted and went on strike.

Darren Bravo, the younger brother of West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, has also put himself in the frame following heavy scoring in Bangladesh with the A team.

The younger Bravo played with little success in the last three matches of the preceding one-day international series, which South Africa swept 5-0.

A stylish left-handed batsman, he has modelled his stroke-play on the style of his cousin Brian Lara, and West Indies would relish him scoring as heavily as the batting legend, especially with Ramnaresh Sarwan not recovered from a hamstring strain.

The batting has also been fortified by the addition of Australia-born left-hander Brendan Nash, who warmed up for the series with consistent scoring in Bangladesh with the A team.

Travis Dowlin, captain of the A side, has also been included and is likely to open the batting with Gayle.

The rest of the squad all appeared in the ODI series and have surprisingly hung onto their places.

West Indies squad:

Chris Gayle (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice captain), Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Travis Dowlin, Brendan Nash, Nelon Pascal, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Shane Shillingford

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