Pedro Collins and Corey Collymore, the two fast bowlers sidelined due to injuries in the last few months, are set to return for the Carib Beer Cup semi-final against Guyana starting on Friday. Both trained at the nets at the Barbados Defence Force’s Paragon ground and Hendy Springer, their coach, felt both have been recuperating well.
Collins, the left-arm fast bowler, sidelined due to a stress fracture to the back since September, recently played in two limited-overs matches for a West Indies Select XI against Scotland. Collymore hasn’t played since being operated in December to remove a bone spur in his right patellar (knee) tendon. Springer also confirmed that the West Indies team management requested that Fidel Edwards, the right-arm fast bowler who was with the senior squad in New Zealand, be rested.
Their inclusion, along with Tino Best and Ian Bradshaw, would mean that Barbados had plenty of fast bowlers to pick from. Given Guyana’s vulnerability to pace, it is likely that they will opt for a four-pronged pace attack, and the bowler who could find himself unlucky to miss out is Ryan Austin, the offspinner. With 22 wickets in four matches, Austin is Barbados’ joint highest wicket-taker with Bradshaw.
While Barbados were spoilt for choice, Guyana braced themselves for the absence of two key players, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan. While the nature of Chanderpaul’s injury is not known, Sarwan has not recovered from a thigh muscle injury he sustained in New Zealand, pulling out of the tour mid-way. Sarwan and Chanderpaul were replaced by Leon Johnson and Stephen Jacobs.
However, Chetram Singh, president of the Guyana Cricket Board was confident that Guyana will pose a challenge to Barbados, despite the setback. “I think the loss of Sarwan and Chanderpaul is a setback to Guyana’s chances,” Singh told Stabroek Sport a Guyana based daily. “Both are senior West Indies batsmen and they both have scored heavily against Barbados in the past. Notwithstanding that, I think we have a good chance, as the guys have been playing cricket for the last month. I’m hopeful they will get through this hurdle and reach the finals.”
Albert Smith, the Guyana coach, agreed with Singh. The side contains a number of enthusiastic youngsters, given the selectors’ emphasis on youth, and he added that the bowling attack will remain unchanged, and that it is up to the batsmen to stand up and be counted.