Windies begin preparation for Champions Trophy

Bridgetown, May 20 (IANS/CMC) The West Indies will kick off preparations for next month’s Champions Trophy in England when they embark on a five-day camp at the High Performance Centre (HPC) at the 3Ws Oval starting here Monday.

The sessions will be overseen by West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson with assistant coach Tony Radford and the HPC’s Andre Coley, also involved in the squad’s preparation.

The players are expected to begin arriving Sunday night, with the remainder coming Monday.

Those currently plying their trade in the Indian Premier League will miss the camp, as will Ramnaresh Sarwan who is on contract with English county side Leicestershire.

Stroke-maker Marlon Samuels, who returned home from the IPL with a groin strain last month, has recovered and will take his place at the camp.

The IPL-based players, along with Sarwan, are expected to be available for the second camp in Cardiff in Wales where the regional squad will fine tune their preparations for the June 6-23 tournament.

The West Indies, who are scheduled to fly out of the Caribbean Saturday, will play two official warm-up games following the Wales camp. They face Australia in a day/night affair in Cardiff June 1 before taking on Sri Lanka at Edgbaston three days later.

The Windies will do battle in Group B of the tournament alongside Pakistan, South Africa and India, with Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and the hosts, comprising Group A.

The West Indies open against Pakistan at the Oval June 7 and follow up against India four days later at the same venue. They travel to Cardiff for their final preliminary round game against the Proteas June 14.

The last time the Champions Trophy was played in England in 2004, the West Indies beat England in a thrilling final at the Oval.

This edition of the final will the last to be staged.



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