Saturday, January 23rd 2010
WEST INDIES fast bowler Fidel Edwards faces the prospect of another year out of the game following spinal surgery in Jamaica three weeks ago to remove a herniated disc.
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director Conde Riley, vice-president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), reported yesterday that Edwards, who turns 28 on February 6, had been referred to Dr.Akshai Mansingh, head of the WICB medical panel, following an MRI scan on his painful back.
He was admitted to the University of the West Indies (UWI) hospital at Mona where Riley said a successful operation was performed. He returned home last week.
’The medical assessment is that he has to go back to square one, strengthen the area and, hopefully, he should be able to resume bowling gradually by the end of the year,’ Riley said. ’Whether he will get back to full pace, only time will tell.’
The problem flared during the World Twenty20 championship in England in June when Edwards withdrew from the West Indies starting eleven on the morning of the match against England.
He underwent rehabilitation in Barbados, supervised by the WICB’s physical therapist Jaqueline King, but this was compromised when he played in the inter-parish tournament at the Three Ws Oval, in two Twenty20 matches organised by the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) in Port-of-Spain and Georgetown in August and for the Deccan Chargers in the inaugural Champions League in India in October.
The gloomy prognosis on a bowler of genuine pace and penetration is a setback to Edwards’ already injury-prone career and comes at a time when his partnership with fellow Barbadian and new tearaway Kemar Roach would have given the West Indies attack extra spice.
In 43 Tests spread over seven years since his debut against Sri Lanka in 2003, Edwards has taken 122 wickets, more than any current West Indian. They have included eight returns of five or more wickets in an innings. He also has 60 wickets in 50 ODIs.
Another key fast bowler, Jerome Taylor, has also been out of action since aggravating a hip injury during the first Test against Australia in Brisbane last November. His record is 82 wickets in 29 Tests and 92 in 62 ODIs.
There are records that emphasise the effect of their combined absence on the bowling strength of a West Indies team that faces a packed schedule over the coming five months with five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals against Zimbabwe, the third World Twenty20 championships in the Caribbean and one Twenty20 Internationa, five ODIs and three home Tests against South Africa.