Sabina Park is famous for producing one of the hardest and fastest pitches in the Caribbean. The venue holds a lot of history since hosting its first Test match between the West Indies and England in 1930.
Now set to host its 50th Test match in two parts, West Indies captain Jason Holder is hoping to get the most out of the surface in the historic encounter against Pakistan starting today.
The match will also be the 50th Test between the two teams, dating back to their first meeting in 1958.
“It’s interesting, obviously quite a bit of moisture there on the surface and there is a bit of grass on the cover, so I think there should be something in the first hour in the first session of play for the faster bowlers.
When asked about playing the additional seamer due to the grass covering on the pitch, Holder reserved his comments, stating only that he will “make my final assessment tomorrow morning [today] and make a decision”.
Meanwhile, the young West Indies 13-man squad will see the return of left-hand opening batsman Kieran Powell, who comes back after a three-year hiatus, along with the Guyanese pair of Vishaul Singh and Shimron Hetmyer.
All three batsmen showed good form in the drawn three-day warm-up game against Pakistan in Trelawny recently and Holder believes all, if selected for the final 11, will have a valuable contribution to make.
Powell produced scores of 58 and 84 not out, while the 28-year-old Singh made an unbeaten 135 in the first innings.
Hetmyer, 20, captained West Indies to the 2016 Under-19 World Cup title in Bangladesh last year and had a promising campaign for Guyana in the four-day competition.
“They have obviously been doing well in first-class cricket; they had a warm-up game against Pakistan and they did well. They spent some time at the wicket and they got the better of the Pakistani bowlers, so hopefully if they are selected for the first match in this Test, then they will come in and do the same,” Holder noted.
He continued: “For us, we just need to be consistent. The squad that we have is a very good squad, a young squad and the guys have been doing well in first-class cricket. So it’s just about transition on the international circuit now and being consistent.
“I don’t think we have moved too far away from what we had in the last Test match, in terms of our combination with six batsmen. It’s just about batsmen getting runs and bowlers getting wickets and I think once we do that it makes it an easier game.
— Sherdon Cowan