By Tony Cozier
Justifiably concerned with he frailty of the batting, the West Indies selectors are bringing back Darren Bravo early from the current ‘A’ team tour of Bangladesh to be available for the last three One-Day Internationals of the current series against South Africa.
The classy, 21-year-old left-hander, younger half-brother of all-rounder Dwayne, was omitted from the ‘A’ team’s final match in Bangladesh, the second of two first-class encounters against the hosts, so that he could return to the Caribbean.
He is expected to be named in the squad for the last three ODIs against South Africa, two in Roseau on Friday and Sunday and the last tomorrow week that is now likely to be transferred from state-of-emergency Kingston, Jamaica to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
With Ramnaresh Sarwan’s serious hamstring injury during yesterday’s second ODI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the return of the younger Bravo, who has already played seven ODIs after making his debut against India in the Caribbean last year, is especially timely.
Bravo made his debut against India in the Caribbean last year and was Player of the Series in the three-way, 50-overs-an-innings ‘A’ team tournament in Bangladesh that also involved South Africa. He had scores of 2, 69, 107 not out, 67 not out and 69, followed by 102 and 37 in the first four-day match against Bangladesh ‘A’.
On the logical presumption that he would be retained in the squad for the three Tests against South Africa, the selectors would need to find a replacement for the ‘A’ team tour of Ireland and England June 5-July 8.
The same is likely to apply to Kieron Pollard who was also chosen for the tour, if exclusively for the one-day matches, instead of left-handed opener Justin Guillen.
Pollard, the power-hitting all-rounder who has played in every international for the 2010 home season (against Zimbabwe, the World Twenty and now against South Africa) has a pre-existing contract with county team, Somerset, for England’s domestic Twenty20 championship that coincides with the ‘A’ tour.
Under Indian Premier League (IPL) regulations, he was obligated to play for the West Indies in the ODIs against Zimbabwe in February, even though it meant him missing the first two matches for the Mumbai Indians.
IPL stipulations do not apply to Somerset. Additionally, Pollard is not one of those players retained by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) under contract.
There could be need for another switch for the ‘A’ team. Left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, who was named for the one-day section of the England tour, pulled up with a side strain in yesterday’s second ODI against South Africa at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and left the field after five balls of his third over.