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Crunch Time for Campbell

by Philip Hackett

7 March 1998

THE form of West Indies opener Sherwin Campbell will be under the microscope when Barbados and England clash in a three- day fixture starting at the Kensington Oval, today.

The West Indies No.1 opener will be needing a big score not only to boost his confidence but to guarantee selection for the upcoming fifth Test match in front of his home crowd.

After finishing the three-Test series in Pakistan as the leading scorer with 248 runs, Campbell has had modest returns in the three Test matches in which he has batted so far against England.

He has managed just 79 runs from six innings with a highest score of 28, even though he has occupied the crease for long periods.

The opening partnership of Campbell and Stuart Williams has not worked well for the West Indies. On the last ten occasions the pair has opened together, they have failed to take the score past 50, the highest being 47 in the first innings of the third Test vs Pakistan.

The form of Williams with an average of just over 23 in the series so far, following an average of ten in the series against Pakistan, must be of concern to the selectors.

A good performance this weekend could earn Barbados captain Philo Wallace a recall to the Test team and if the selectors opt for a complete overhaul at the top, Adrian Griffith could once again come into the reckoning with an outstanding performance in this match after his return to form with an innings of 186 against the Windward Islands in the last round of the President's Cup.

Wallace has knocked up three consecutive scores in excess of 50, including a disciplined century in a futile match-saving effort against Guyana.

He appears to be currently at the top of his game and this could be the ideal time to give him a fair opportunity.

Williams has been the first to be dismissed on eight out of the last ten partnerships between the two. Over this same period, Campbell has seen the score past 50 on six occasions and beyond 100 three times.

Middle order batsman Roland Holder will be hoping to extend his Test career beyond the eight matches he has played.

He has been unfortunate not to have played so far in this series, particularly after his big century for the ``A'' team against England.

The West Indies batting has failed consistently during this series and there must be some concern over Jimmy Adams who has been dismissed lbw without playing a stroke, three times out of his six innings in the series.

With an average of only 18 so far, it would not be surprising if he gives way to Holder, who would want to seal the issue with another fine innings.

Floyd Reifer, Ricky Hoyte and Pedro Collins will want to do enough to be in the selectors' thoughts for the tour of South Africa later this year.

However, with the inconsistency of wicketkeeper David Williams in front of and behind the stumps, Hoyte could well be a factor before then.

Source: The Barbados Nation
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Date-stamped : 09 Mar1998 - 20:00