By Sean Devers in Jamaica
In association with Digicel, Queensway, Western Union & Jamaica Pegasus
Barbadian pacer Fidel Edwards has not played a Test match since May 2009 and although he has been in the Squad since the recent Pakistan series, he is yet to make his return to the West Indies team.
The quickest of the present West Indies pacers when fully fit, Edwards could give the home team’s attack a major boost on a Sabina Park track which should offer early response to the fast bowlers, but with Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul in the squad and Skipper Darren Sammy an automatic selection in the final eleven, the 29 year-old Edwards could again miss out today when the first Test between West Indies and India start here.
Edwards who was picked for his Test debut on his nets performance to Brian Lara after playing just a solitary First-Class game for Barbados and picked up five wicket hauls in both his Test and ODI debut matches, is looking forward to an early return to the international level.
Edwards had a long work out in the nets on Saturday and yesterday said he was ready if selected today.
The quickie who made his Test debut against Sri Lanka on this very ground in 2003 spoke about his rehabilitation, the challenges he faced, how he overcame the obstacles, his good showing with the ball for Barbados earlier this year in the WICB Regional 4 Day Tournament, and his hunger for success at the international level.
“I have always loved bowling here at Sabina Park. For me it’s like a second home (ground)… I would say a home away from home. I’ve had some success here with the ball, for West Indies as well as for Barbados and I’m looking for even more success, if the selectors name me in the XI,” Edwards said.
“I played my first Test match here and did very well. In that game I got five (wickets) in the first innings and six in the match and that really was great. The crowds here in Jamaica are very good and really support West Indies team, and that’s always something you can feed off as a player,” Edwards, who is the step brother of former Test left-arm pacer Pedro Collins, said.
He has taken 122 wickets from 43 Tests with best figures of 7-87 against New Zealand at Napier three years ago and only the Guyanese pair of Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan has played more Tests than him in this squad.
“I am bowling far better, in more consistent areas and swinging a lot more than before. I am training a lot harder, gym a lot, strengthening my back, my legs, my muscles, my weak areas a lot,” he said.
“I now need to take it step by step. I have bowled long spells in February and March; I remember a really long spell against England Lions and I have been injury free,” informed Edwards
With Sammy’s presence continuing to cause a problem in the balance of the side, the headache today could be which bowler to leave out since even on a track expected to offer some pace and bounce, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo should play and playing him along with all three pacers could leave the batting line-up a man short.
Today’s opening Test starts at 10:00hrs (11:00hrs Guy time) and Edwards could be one of the unlucky players on the bench today.
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