Fidel back, Best dropped

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The return of Fidel Edwards has been overshadowed by the omission of fellow fast bowler Tino Best for disciplinary reasons ahead of Barbados’ second round match against England Lions in the WICB Regional first-championship, starting on Friday at Kensington Oval.

West Indies fast bowler Edwards has been named as the replacement for Best, as the only change to their 13-member squad for the match, ending a 15-month spell on the sidelines recovering from career-threatening back injury, which required surgery.

It would have been a thrill for fans of the home team if there could have been a revival of the pairing with Best, but this has been put on ice. Best has been dropped, following an incident during a practice session, when he reportedly expressed concern with some of the physical drills, and left training before the players went into the nets.

A Barbados Cricket Association news release, which outlined the team for the match, did not give any reasons, but chairman of selectors George Linton confirmed to the Nation newspaper that events at the practice session had triggered the decision to omit the fiery fast bowler. “He was very disrespectful to the trainer, and was disruptive to the practice session,” said Linton.

“If a guy is disrespectful, he has to learn that we are not going to tolerate it.”

Best is known for his hyperactive antics on the field, but has been one of Barbados most consistent bowlers in the regional competition, since making his debut nine years ago. His bowling has improved in recent months, and has led to him being one of three reserves for the West Indies’ World Cup squad.

For Edwards, it will be a welcomed return to serious action, since playing his last top-level match for the Deccan Chargers in the Champions League Twenty20 two Octobers ago. He underwent spinal surgery in January last year to remove a herniated disc, and spent most of the year doing rehabilitative work before returning to the playing fields at the end of the last club season in the island.

Edwards played in a trial match last month, but he was not selected for the national team to play against Trinidad & Tobago in the opening round. He however, gave proof that he was ready, when he grabbed four wickets in a spell for a Barbados Select XI against Windward Islands in a practice match prior to the start of the season.

“We got word from the physio that he is fit and ready,” said Linton. “He had a workout with the coaches, and he seems to be doing the work that we expected. “We hope that things will go well for him. He should gradually build himself up, and see how it goes.”

Barbados enter the match with three points, after they conceded first innings points in their drawn match with T&T in the opening round. England Lions are one of three teams at the top of the standings on 12 points, after an innings and 120-run victory over Leeward Islands inside three days in St. Kitts.

The musical chairs that the Lions have played since their arrival has continued, with Ravi Bopara called into the senior squad for the World Cup, which opens on February 19 in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

Bopara replaces Eoin Morgan, who has been withdrawn with a broken finger, but the Lions still have enough batting and bowling depth to make life difficult for the Barbadians.

Squads:

BARBADOS (from): Ryan Hinds (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Pedro Collins, Shane Dowrich, Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards, Jason Haynes, Jason Holder, Kyle Hope, Dale Richards, Kevin Stoute

ENGLAND LIONS (from): James Hildreth (captain), Jimmy Adams, Jonathan Bairstow, Danny Briggs, Nathan Buck, Maurice Chambers, Jade Dernbach, Andrew Gale, James Harris, Craig Kieswetter, Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, James Taylor

UMPIRES: Gregory Brathwaite, Goaland Greaves

MATCH REFEREE: Mervyn Jones

RESERVE UMPIRE: Ricardo Brathwaite