Prior ruled out, Ambrose in
Tim Ambrose will keep wicket for England in the fourth Test after Matt Prior returned home following the birth of his first child.
Last Updated: 23/02/09 5:19pm
Tim Ambrose will keep wicket for England in the fourth Test against West Indies after Matt Prior returned home following the early arrival of his first child.
Prior's wife Emily gave birth to a boy on Sunday evening and he has immediately flown home - making him unavailable for the fourth Test, which starts in Barbados on Thursday.
The Sussex gloveman will, however, return to the Caribbean in time for the final Test of the series in Trinidad (Mar 6-10) - a match he had originally expected to miss due to his wife's pregnancy.
Ambrose, who was dropped following a disappointing home series against South Africa last summer, is the back-up wicketkeeper in the squad and is set to earn his 11th cap at the Kensington Oval.
Worcestershire's Steven Davies is to fly in from the England Lions' tour of New Zealand to provide wicketkeeping cover during Prior's absence, although he is not due to arrive until Wednesday evening.
England now face some difficult selection decisions for Barbados.
With all-rounder Andrew Flintoff unavailable due to a strained hip muscle, it seemed likely Prior would move up in the batting order to number six in order for a five-man bowling attack to be retained, especially as the tourists trail 1-0 in the series.
"Clearly it's a special set of circumstances," said England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Hugh Morris.
"Matt is well aware of the situation we are in out here but we have provision for paternity leave and he is within his rights to take that.
"It's now obviously a challenge for the selectors out here to look at."
The selectors are unlikely to want Ambrose - a less accomplished batsman than Prior - to bat any higher than number seven.
England called up Essex batsman Ravi Bopara and Kent seamer Amjad Khan as cover for Flintoff.
Bopara, who also bowls medium pace, now appears to be in a strong position to go straight into the starting XI - his cause helped by a century on the first day of the tour match against the Barbados Cricket Association President's XI.