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Sarwan being saved for major series - Gibson

Published:Wednesday | March 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC):

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson on Monday said key batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan was being safeguarded in light of crucial upcoming campaigns.

The experienced 29-year-old right-hander was overlooked for the final three one-day internationals (ODIs) of the current Zimbabwe series, despite returning to first-class cricket following a two-month injury layoff.

Gibson said Sarwan was crucial to the team set up and wanted the player fully fit for crucial campaigns in the ICC Twenty20 World Championship and against South Africa for three Tests and five ODIs later this year.

"Ramnaresh Sarwan is very important to the team. He was with us in Guyana and seeing him around was very good," the newly-appointed Gibson said.

More rest

"He had a serious injury with his back. At the moment, he could benefit from some more time to get fully ready. I don't want to rush him back too soon. The last thing we want would be to rush him back and lose him for the long term.

"It is a precaution to allow him to get 100 per cent ready for the major international assignments we have later this year."

Sarwan's omission raised several eyebrows, especially after he stroked a century for Guyana on return to first-class action last week, a knock that signalled a return to some level of fitness.

When he was overlooked for the first two ODIs in Guyana last week, chairman of West Indies selectors, Clyde Butts, said the aim was to protect the injury-prone Sarwan.

Earlier Monday, however, the former West Indies off-spinner remained cagey about Sarwan's absence from the remaining matches, referring CMC Sport to the WICB for an explanation.

"I can't mention anything about his non-selection," Butts said.

"The WICB will have to deal with this directly. We just named a team for the three other ODIs."

Selectors have made two changes to the squad, including the fit-again all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and his younger brother Darren Bravo at the expense of Dwayne Smith and Andre Fletcher.

The last three ODIs will be played at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St Vincent, starting today and continuing on Friday and Sunday.