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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 23:20 GMT 00:20 UK
Samuels dropped for England tour
Marlon Samuels
Samuels played eight of West Indies' nine World Cup matches
West Indies have sprung a surprise by dropping batsman Marlon Samuels for the forthcoming Test series in England.

The selectors have chosen a 15-man squad which includes five pacemen and two seam-bowling all-rounders, but no specialist spinner is named.

Ravi Rampaul and Darren Sammy, who have appeared in one-day internationals but not Tests, have been selected.

The side will be captained by batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan and the first of four Tests begins at Lord's on 17 May.

It will be their first competitive action since a disappointing performance on home soil at the World Cup and the retirement of former skipper Brian Lara.


Lara's absence from the batting line-up has resulted in a recall for Sylvester Joseph, who made his Test debut at Old Trafford in 2004 but has been out of favour since a series in Sri Lanka the following year, and he will compete with Runako Morton for a place in the middle order.

The decision to leave out Samuels is something of a surprise even though he only scored 216 runs at an average of 30 during the World Cup.

He remains the subject of ongoing investigations by the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit and West Indies board following claims by Indian police that he had contact with a bookmaker prior to a one-day series earlier this year.

But no reason has yet been given for his omission, which means that whatever slow bowling is required will be provided by Chris Gayle or skipper Sarwan.

Fidel Edwards
Edwards made his West Indies debut four years ago

The main focus of the West Indies attack will be on pace with Daren Powell, Jerome Taylor and Corey Collymore joined by Fidel Edwards, arguably the quickest bowler in the Caribbean, and 22-year-old Rampaul, who played in two one-dayers on the last tour to England and took 2-34 at Trent Bridge, when he dismissed Geraint Jones and Paul Collingwood.

Sammy is no stranger to local conditions, having spent time on the Lord's groundstaff and playing two one-day internationals in England in the summer of 2004.

Chairman of selectors Gordon Greenidge said there was a need to rebuild for the future, but they did not think wholesale changes were appropriate at this stage.

"Though going that way may have some validity, we feel that we still wish to compete creditably in England, rather than just go through what one might consider the rebuilding process.

"We don't want to have players totally out of their depths. We want to know that we can still compete even if we do not win the series, and at least give a good account of ourselves.

"We have made some changes, and we feel we have the right mix, and we are hoping that this mix will start the ball rolling as far as the redevelopment or redefining of West Indies cricket for the future," he said.

There is an ongoing dispute between the West Indies board and Players Association (Wipa) about contracts for the tour, a problem which has overshadowed the build-up to a number of series in recent years.

WICB chief Bruce Aanensen has threatened to replace any players who refuse to sign the contracts, a hard line they have taken before when seven players, including, Lara, were dropped for a series against South Africa.

Squad: Ramnaresh Sarwan (Captain), Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Daren Ganga (Vice-Captain), Christopher Gayle, Sylvester Joseph, Runako Morton, Daren Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Devon Smith, Darren Sammy, Jerome Taylor.

Colin Croft column
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