Cricket: W Indies call up leg spinner Ramnarine

The West Indies selectors yesterday dispelled rumours they were about to drop their vice-captain Carl Hooper, including him in the 13-man squad for the fourth Test against England, which starts at Bourda on Friday.

However, they made no comment on reports that Hooper, whose unbeaten 94 set them on the way to victory in the second Test in Port of Spain, had disobeyed instructions to play in the three-day match between Guyana and England which ended on Monday. Hooper has given no reason for not playing for Guyana, although he is captain.

Hooper has been disciplined before for failing to play in matches and once sat out a Hong Kong sixes competition, although he was captain.

The selectors did make two changes yesterday, bringing in leg-spinner Dinanath Ramnarine from Trinidad for the fast bowler Franklyn Rose and the Barbados batsman Roland Holder in place of the medium pacer Kenneth Benjamin.

The recalled Holder, who has played in eight Tests and has an average of 29.18 with a top score of 91, was dropped after the recent 3-0 Test humiliation in Pakistan.

Ramnarine, 22, played in a one-day international against Sri Lanka last June after taking 38 wickets at an average of 22.31 in 10 Red Stripe games last season.

Ramnarine is considered the best of the bunch of young spinners now emerging from the shadows cast by the great fast bowlers of the recent past.

Bowling against England in the two-day warm-up game ahead of the back- to-back Tests in Trinidad, he took 5 for 72, including the wickets of the England captain, Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart and Graham Thorpe in just 30 overs.

The seven-month dry spell in Guyana, which normally has 90 inches of rain a year, means that both sides will consider playing two spinners. The pitch, described as dry by local experts, is expected to provide turn from the start.

England's spinners, Robert Croft and Phil Tufnell, took 17 of the 20 Guyana wickets to fall in the drawn game at Everest and Neil McGarrett, the Guyanese left-arm spinner, took eight.

WEST INDIES SQUAD (v England, Fourth Test, Bourda, Guyana, starts Friday): S L Campbell, S C Williams, B C Lara*, C L Hooper, S Chanderpaul, J C Adams, R I C Holder, D Williams, C E L Ambrose, N A M McLean, C A Walsh, I R Bishop, D Ramnarine.