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Reifer to skipper ad-hoc Windies team

July 09, 2009 10:05 IST
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The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) scrambled to get a team together for the first Test against Bangladesh starting on Thursday after the selected players decided to boycott the match due to contract disputes.

A 15-man squad, captained by 36-year-old Floyd Reifer, whose last of four Test appearances was over 10 years ago, features 16-year-old Barbadian batsman Kraigg Brathwaite who, if he plays would become the youngest West Indian Test player.

None of the original 13 players selected for the match, prior to the West Indies Players Association announcing their withdrawal from the Bangladesh series, have been named.

Darren Sammy, selected as vice-captain, is the only player in the squad to have been a regular member of the West Indies set up in the past year.

West Indies Cricket Board president Julian Hunte declined on Wednesday to comment on the recruitment of players but said there had been "a lot of intimidation of players".

The WICB chief declined to comment on who had carried out the intimidation or give any details about which players had been approached.

Tino Best, the 27-year-old Barbados pace bowler, who last featured in a Test match in 2005, was in the squad along with fellow Bajan, opening batsman Dale Richards who has narrowly missed out on Test appearances.

But the bulk of players are debutants with only regional cricket experience including Brathwaite who was flown in from a regional under-19 tournament in Jamaica.

Jamaican fast bowler Daren Powell, not included in the selected 13, said on Wednesday he had been approached by the board to play but had turned down the chance.

"I was contacted by the West Indies board but I told them I was not available this time," Powell told Reuters.

The West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) announced on Tuesday the Test squad, captained by Chris Gayle, had withdrawn from the series with immediate effect.

The WIPA said they were owed payments for recent games and that the players have performed in the last four series without contracts.

"Heading home. Sorry to all the cricket fans. This is the last thing we want to happen to the game. Need respect and stop taking us for granted," Gayle said on his Twitter feed.

The WICB said the boycott was "extremely ill advised and premature" and said it considered negotiations with the WIPA were ongoing.

West Indies squad - Floyd Reifer (captain), Darren Sammy, Ryan Austin, Tino Best, David Bernard, Kraigg Brathwaite, Andre Creary, Travis Dowlin, Nikita Miller, Kevin McClean, Nelon Pascal, Omar Phillips, Dale Richards, Kemar Roach, Chadwick Walton.

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