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CARIBBEAN - One Day International cricket

Weather Or Not

Ramnaresh Sarwan (right) and Michael Vaughan

Sunday 18, April-2004

Ramnaresh Sarwan (right) and Michael Vaughan were forced to use board bridges to do their inspections.


BOURDA – Say cricket in South America and you say rain.

Yesterday and into this morning a cloud hovered over whether or not there would be play in the first One-Day International between West Indies and England at the only international cricket venue on the continent.

Rain could put a damper on what was expected to be a high-octane, action-packed start to the “kamikaze” segment to the British invasion of the Caribbean.

At 7:30 this morning a decision will be made between match referee Jeff Crowe, the former Zealand batsman; Aleem Dar, the 35-year-old Pakistani umpire, and Eddie Nicholls, the veteran umpire from Guyana, whose input will carry the most sway. Officials from both sides will also sit in.

Cricket here has been hampered by rain for years, and the organisers if the tour itinerary wisely put tomorrow as a reserve day.

This will be the only international match in Guyana this year and expectation is high.

England too have been bugged by bad weather – two of their three One-Dayers in the last tour of Sri Lanka were abandoned.

After several weeks of brilliant sunshine, torrential rain came on Thursday, continued all Friday and only abated yesterday morning, ironically during a media conference when Guyana’s beloved Ronnie Sarwan was unveiled as stand-in skipper for the recovering Brian Lara.

All day yesterday, and into the night, the ground staff was busy using the ultra-modern water hogs, and other more archaic methods, to pump gallons of water off the small outfield and into the mini-lake around the small ground.

In the evening President Bharrat Jagdeo despatched a helicopter to the ground to assist with the mopping up effort in the hope that play could start at 9:35 a.m.

The sun returned all yesterday and made for a fabulous afternoon but only this morning will it be known if the field is fit for play.

Sarwan doesn’t want his party spoiled, he’s very excited about taking over the mantle of leadership.

“I’m very excited about doing the job and it’s even more special doing it in front of my people,” he told SUNSPORTS before going on to do the international media call with BBC and SkySports.

“I’m filling in for Brian Lara and he has been a wonderful example,” he added.

Lara misses today’s match as he is recovering from a finger injury. He is due back in next weekend’s double-header in Trinidad.

“This is a special elevation for me,” said the 23-year-old, who has never led Guyana at senior level. “It’s a job to do and that’s what I have in mind.”

With Lara out, he is expected to bat at No.3, and according to coach Gus Logie, Shivnarine Chanderpaul should partner Chris Gayle at the top.

Gayle is the only specialist opener in the squad and Chanderpaul, the Guyana captain, has the experience and craft to slot-in with ease.

Gayle’s flamboyance will be vital at the start, and how he manoeurves in the first 15 overs, when England’s seamers are sure to be on an “honest” line and length, will be key to the West Indies’ overall success.

One of those bowlers will be veteran Darren Gough, the leader in England’s all-time wicket list. At age 33 he has retired from Test cricket to concentrate on ODIs and this is one major step towards the World Cup 2007.

The rest of the attack will be shouldered by Steve Harmison, who made a name for himself in the Test series, big all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and spinner Ashley Giles, who has been a constant member of the side in the past two years.

England’s skipper Michael Vaughan will have his first knock as opener in a One-Day and said he was looking forward to it.

“I will partner Marcus Trescothick at the top for the first time. It will be the first time I open in a One-Dayer,” the Yorkshireman said.

He added that the rain, which has greeted them in Guyana since the end of the Test series in Antigua on Wednesday, has been a bit of a setback, but they are professionals and know what the job requires.

“We just have to get on with it. We’re cricketers and we have all accepted what has happened. Let’s hope we get a good start here.”

All Guyana will be hoping for that as well.

Compliments of Nation News


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