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Injury may keep out Sarwan

Source - nationnews.com

Already without their captain, the West Indies might have to make do without their deputy for today's first Twenty20 International in the Caribbean.

Ramnaresh Sarwan is nursing a groin injury which isn't viewed as anything serious, but a decision on his availability for the match against Australia at Kensington Oval won't be made until just before the 2 p.m. start.

On the eve of the match, Sarwan's participation during practice was restricted.

While his teammates were involved in physical and coaching drills, he had light batting practice on the edge of the playing area.

Coach John Dyson revealed the injury was sustained during the third Test.

"It's nothing major [but] we're mindful that we have five One-Days coming up," Dyson said.

"In this Twenty20 form of the game, it can be fairly hectic. We're just going to wait and have a look tomorrow [today] and see what sort of condition the injury is in."

If Sarwan is unavailable, it will be a further setback after a decision was made to allow captain Chris Gayle to take the match off to allow his groin injury to further heal.

In Gayle's absence and with fellow opener Sewnarine Chattergoon also injured, it has allowed the selectors to call up two of the most exciting players in the two versions of the Stanford 20/20 competition.

Willam Perkins, the 21-year-old Trinidad and Tobago opener who was born in Barbados, was the leading scorer in the competition earlier this year and the second highest in the inaugural tournament on 2006.

While his returns at other levels of the game are nothing much to shout about, his style, highlighted by touches of improvisation, is ideally suited to the extra shorter form of the game.

Andre Fletcher, a 20-year-old batsman from Grenada, has also enjoyed success in the Stanford 20/20, and was good enough to score a century against Carib Beer Cup champions Jamaica in the first-class competition.

Apart from Perkins, Fletcher and big-hitting Kieron Pollard, West Indies are using the majority of those who played in the Test series. In contrast, Australia have seven new players who weren't here for the Tests.

"It's a reflection of the depth of Australian cricket compared to the depth of West Indies cricket," Dyson said.

"The Australian structure is very, very good. They've got around 120 contracted players 20 per state squad whereas we operate on 15 contracted players. The numbers there tell you something."

Among the Australia reinforcements is Shaun Marsh, the 24-year-old son of former vice-captain Geoff Marsh.

The younger Marsh, an opener like his father, already has 47 first-class appearances, boasts of a Twenty20 domestic hundred for Western Australia and was the country's leading batsman in their last Twenty20 competition, performances that have put him in line for his international debut today.

While Twenty20 Internationals have been common around the world for the past two years, today's match is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

Amidst continued debate over this kind of cricket and the threat it poses to the other forms of the game, Dyson is all for it.

"I enjoy all forms of cricket and I think there is a place in the cricket market for Twenty20, 50-over cricket and Test cricket. There are different skills involved in each of the forms of the game," he said.

"If I was playing these days, I would have found it a very exciting time to play. All players should view it as a further opportunity to play cricket."

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