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Samuels strengthens Windies

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Marlon Samuels

West Indies have received a boost after Marlon Samuels arrived ahead of this week's clash with England Lions at Wantage Road

West Indies expect to have a full-strength squad to choose from for this week’s tour match against England Lions after batsman Marlon Samuels arrived in the country this morning.

Samuels touched down after flying from the Indian Premier League and could be joined tomorrow by Assad Fudadin and Narsingh Deonarine, who have been held up by visa issues.

The Guyanese duo have been awaiting their visas in Jamaica for the past few days, with West Indies officials hoping that they will be able to pick them up later today.

That would still leave them with little time to fly to England for the start of the Lions match in Northampton, which begins on Thursday and is their last preparation before the first Investec Test at Lord’s next week.

“Marlon Samuels arrived in the country this morning and has joined up with the team,” a West Indies spokesman said.

“The other two players are still awaiting their visa but we are hopeful that they will be able to pick them up today.

“Until they have those visas in their hand we can not be sure, of course.

“Only when they they get those then we can make the necessary arrangements for them to arrive in England, but we hope and expect that they will be here for the England Lions game.

“Whether any of the players are selected is a matter for the team management to decide.”

The news will come as a relief for the tourists, whose preparations for the first Test on May 17 have also been undermined by the wet weather.

Just 34 overs were possible between downpours during their three-day tour opener against Sussex at the PROBIZ County Ground this week.

That was still enough time for star batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul to suffer a finger injury while batting, though he was able to bat on yesterday evening without obvious discomfort.

The Windies’ only major injury worry, therefore, is strike bowler Fidel Edwards, who has remained sidelined since missing last month’s third Test against Australia with a back niggle.

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