Cricket Benjaminis sent home

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The Independent Online
Cricket

TONY COZIER

Winston Benjamin, the 30-year- old Antiguan all-rounder, was dropped from the West Indies touring team yesterday and is being sent home today.

Vasbert Drakes, the 25-year- old Barbados fast bowler who has been playing league cricket in England, joins the squad as Benjamin's replacement for today's match at Hove against Sussex, the county he joins from next season.

The West Indies Board of Control said that Benjamin's dismissal was on the unspecified grounds of "discipline and fitness". The action had been taken, it added, on the "unanimous recommendation" of the tour committee, managers Wes Hall and Andy Roberts, captain Richie Richardson and vice-captain Courtney Walsh".

Benjamin has been bothered by minor injuries throughout the tour. Unable to bowl on the last day of the match against Durham after reporting knee and hamstring pain, he then had a long, fiery session in the nets just two days later before the Lord's Test. Picked for the match against the Universities that ended yesterday, he withdrew complaining of feeling ill.

"We've got key bowlers who are playing with minor aches and pains" Hall said. "We have to give them support and we need reliable back-ups." Benjamin's career has been dogged by disciplinary problems, and his 21 Tests - in which he has taken 61 wickets and scored 470 runs - had been spread over seven years. He moved from Leicestershire to Hampshire last season and missed West Indies' tour of India last year because he had been banned after an altercation with a board official during England's Test in Antigua.

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