No time to ponder replacement
West Indies have precious little time in which to make sure they choose the right captain to deputise for the injured Ramnaresh Sarwan for the remainder of their tour of England.
Sarwan, who injured his shoulder during an innings-and-283-run defeat at Headingley, was yesterday ruled out for the two Tests, two Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals in which the Windies still have to face England this summer.
It was little more than confirmation of what most people felt they already knew when the tourists announced 26-year-old batsman Sarwan would not play any further part.
Vice-captain Daren Ganga led the team in Sarwan's absence at Leeds - where interim coach David Moore was left to deal with rumours of a return for the recently retired Brian Lara.
Moore dismissed those suggestions, but the fact that Ganga has not immediately been nominated as replacement captain is bound to fuel further speculation until the Windies make their decision.
With the third Test looming at Old Trafford next week, it seems likely they will want to have the new man in place for their only preparation match - a low-profile three-day fixture starting in Durham on Friday against a weak MCC side, set to be led by Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya.
A team spokesman said on Tuesday that both a new captain and replacement batsman will be named as soon as possible.
He was speaking after manager Mike Findlay had announced the imminent departure of Sarwan, who was unable to bat in either innings of the second Test - the result of which put the Windies 1-0 down in the four-match series.
"The injury will take six weeks to heal, and he will not be able to take any further part in this tour," said Findlay.
Sarwan himself voiced his regret at having to fly home but backed his team-mates to bounce back after the heaviest Test defeat in their history.
"I am very disappointed that I will not be able to continue," he said. "I have spoken to the players and wished them well for the remainder of the Tests, the Twenty20 series and the one-dayers.
"I have every confidence that the boys will be able to rebound after the defeat at Headingley."
Ganga, touted by many as first choice ahead of Sarwan when the Windies began their search last month for a captain following Lara's retirement in the aftermath of a poor World Cup campaign, remains the most likely man to take over.
But lynchpin middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who sat out Headingley with a knee injury, is expected to be fit again soon and could also come into the reckoning - having led his country before.
As for the right batsman to replace Sarwan, Ryan Hinds appears to fit the bill and is already in England playing club cricket - while the controversial Marlon Samuels was a notable omission from the 15 originally selected for this tour.