Treat expected at Test rehearsal

Tony Becca , Senior Sport Editor

January 16, 1998

CRICKET: The England cricketers open their tour of the Caribbean against Jamaica this morning at Jarrett Park, and according to reports coming out of their camp, it will be a full dress rehearsal in preparation for the first Test against the West Indies.

Action in the four day match gets under way at 10 o'clock. Although ace fast bowlers Courtney Walsh and Franklyn Rose will not be in action, Montego Bay fans are in for a treat as Jamaica, winners of first innings points over Barbados in the opening round of the regional President's Cup tournament and but for their two Test players, are expected to field their best eleven.

With the first Test just under two weeks away and only one other match before then - against the West 'A' team, England, it seems, will be using the two matches to give the players likely to play in that Test match as much match- practice as possible and also the opportunity to get accustomed to the conditions.

With Jamaica's second match of the President's Cup tournament clashing with the West 'A' versus England match starting at Chedwin Park on January 22, Jamaica, as they were against Barbados, will be without some of their top players. They will again be forced to fall back on their young players. According to chairman Chester Watson, there was a temptation to use this tour match to prepare for the Windward Islands. Gareth Breese, Carl Wright, and Ricardo Powell were the three young batsmen who played against Barbados and with Leon Garrick and Wavell Hinds, along with allrounder Laurie Williams, selected for the 'A' team to oppose England, they could also play against the Windward Islands. Jamaica, however, are expected to put out their best team, especially their best batsmen, for three reasons.

The first reason is to provide an opportunity for Robert Samuels and Garrick to redeem themselves after a disappointing time in South Africa; the second is to allow Hinds another opportunity to gain valuable experience; and although he now looks set to return, the third is to provide James Adams, who will lead the team in the absence of Walsh, with a good opportunity to address the selectors in his plea to get back into the West Indies team.

With England expected to parade their best eleven, the team for today's match could be batsmen Mike Arthurton - captain, Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain, Graham Thorpe and Mark Ramprakash, allrounder Adam Hollioake, wicketkeeper Jack Russell, pace bowlers Dean Headley - son of Ron Headley and grandson of the great George Headley, Andrew Caddick, and Angus Fraser, and left-arm spinner Phil Tufnell.

It is possible however, that Mark Butcher, who also bowls, could be in for Hollioake.

If Butcher gets in, he is likely to bat at number three, with Hussain, Thorpe and Ramprakash dropping one place down the order. The other players in the England squad are batsman John Crawley, offspinner Robert Croft, and pacers Ashley Cowan and Chris Silverwood who replaced the injured Darren Gough.

With Walsh and Rose, plus offspinner Nehemiah Perry and fast bowler Patrick Patterson on the injured list, the Jamaica team is likely to be Adams - captain, Garrick, Samuels, Hinds, Mario Ventura, Tony Powell, Williams, Andre Coley, Brian Murphy, Kirk Powell and Oneil Richards. The other players in the 13-man squad are Breese and Wright.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:08