Monday, September 7, 2009

Ponting hopes for full-strength West Indies

Ricky Ponting has called upon the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and players to resolve their protracted industrial dispute before the scheduled tour of Australia in November. A player strike prompted the WICB to select a second-string side for home Test and one-day series against Bangladesh - both of which they lost soundly. The board has retained a severely weakened team for the upcoming Champions Trophy in South Africa.

West Indies are due to play Australia in a three-Test series from November, and return in February for five one-day and two Twenty20 internationals. Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo will partake in the Big Bash competition for Western Australia and Victoria respectively in December and January, but it is uncertain whether the high-profile duo will be cleared to represent West Indies either side of the domestic Twenty20 league.

"I just really hope the West Indies have their issues sorted out by the time it's time to come to Australia," Ponting told AAP. "None of us want to be playing against a second-rate or a B-grade West Indian side.

"We want to be playing against the best sides and the best players all the time. So let's hope it is sorted out. Australian fans over the years have really enjoyed seeing the West Indies team out there, so hopefully they get their best players out here."

West Indies' chairman of selectors, Clyde Butts, has issued an ultimatum to the senior players, who had gone on strike, to participate in the region's domestic one-day tournament next month or face exclusion from the ensuing tour of Australia.

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