Sammy’s absence upsets St. Lucians

(AFP) – Much to the annoyance of St. Lucians, West Indies have named an unchanged 13-member squad for the last two One-day Internationals in their series of four against India.

The decision means that St. Lucians will not get a chance to see their hometown hero Darren Sammy on Friday and Sunday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.

West Indies drew level 1-1 in the series, following an eight-wicket victory in the second ODI on Sunday at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

India won the opening ODI by 20 runs two days earlier at the same venue.

The West Indies selectors have chosen to stick to the age-old adage that ‘you never change a winning side’, and have decided to take their chances with the same combination that appeared at Kingston.

Instead, they have chosen to give Dave Bernard Jr an extended run ahead of Sammy, despite his unflattering figures in the first two ODIs on home soil.

Bernard captured one for 50 off eight overs and scored 19 in the first ODI, and then conceded 36 runs in seven overs in the second ODI.

But Sammy, 25, has hardly placed a foot wrong for West Indies in five Tests and 23 ODIs since his became the first cricketer from this island to represent West Indies in international matches.

In the West Indies’ previous series against England, he played in a solitary ODI at Bristol, where he scored 13 not out and took one for 15 from five overs.

He also equipped himself well in two crucial matches in the Twenty20 World Cup also in England, following injury to key strike bowler Fidel Edwards.

His four overs in the vital Super Eight match against England cost only 24 runs, and he also conceded just 19 from four overs in the semi-final against Sri Lanka.

The Beausejour Cricket Ground has hosted 17 ODIs – including seven matches in the 2007 World Cup – since its inauguration seven years ago.

West Indies have won five of the matches they have contested at the ground, and one has finished in a no-result.

Squad: Chris Gayle (captain), Denesh Ramdin (vice-captain), Lionel Baker, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Sulieman Benn, David Bernard, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Runako Morton, Ravi Rampaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor

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