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Lara set to return

GEORGETOWN (GUYANA), APRIL 1. Five West Indies players including Brian Lara were temporarily released from the endorsement contracts, which have barred them from the national cricket team.

Cable & Wireless released the players from their obligations on Friday to help make them eligible for the second Test against South Africa starting next Friday at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

Two other suspended players, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle, ended their Cable & Wireless contracts on Wednesday, a day before the first Test began in Georgetown.

West Indies Cricket Board chief executive Roger Brathwaite said the board would rule on the new development within 24 hours.

"We have passed on communication from their lawyers to our legal counsel for guidance, and we expect to have back their advice hopefully later on today," said Brathwaite.

"Once we get that guidance, the board will then meet, and then we will make it known what the decision is on that situation either today or tomorrow."

Death threats

Brian Lara and six other suspended cricketers received death threats over a contract dispute with the national board, the West Indies Players' Association claimed on Thursday.

WIPA boss, Dinanath Ramnarine, said the players "face overwhelming pressure, including death threats, and threats from the WICB never to play again, threats and intimidation from sponsors, and pressure from the highest political levels within the length and breadth of the Caribbean community."

He said the dispute, which barred the seven players from playing against South Africa in the first Test which began on Thursday, had made the West Indies Cricket Board "tyrannical and despotic."

The board "has suspended its discretion, jettisoned all reasoning, and is hell-bent at all costs to do the bidding of its sponsor. — AP

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