In a major news, West Indies recalled T20 mercenaries, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, for the first two T20Is against India at Florida starting August 3rd. They have also included Andre Russell subject to fitness and uncapped wicket-keeper batsman, Anthony Bramble.
Chris Gayle isn’t available as he will be playing the Global T20 Canada and has been excluded from the squad. In his place comes John Campbell, who was among the shortlisted names for the World Cup before missing out.
Sunil Narine last played T20Is for West Indies two years back and was also considered for the World Cup. But a finger injury meant he had to miss out on the marquee event in England but is now set to don the maroon jersey again.
“We felt that players like Narine and Pollard, who have played well in T20 leagues around the world, once they are fit and mentally ready to play, we must give them the opportunity to represent the West Indies again,” Robert Haynes, the intern chairman of selection, said.
Pollard, meanwhile, had a stellar season in the Indian Premier League with Mumbai Indians and makes a comeback into the T20I side. With the World T20 coming up next year, West Indies, the defending champions, are strengthening their core team.
“It’s not just about the present – the India tour of the West Indies – but we are also looking at the T20 World Cup coming up next year and it is important that we find the right combination of players and the right formula for defending our title,” Haynes said.
“We have to make sure that we put certain things in place now, so that when it comes to picking the squad for the T20 World Cup, it becomes easier, so we are giving more players the opportunity to play and get the exposure.”
Khary Pierre joins Narine in the spin department while exciting young talent Nicholas Pooran has an aid in 28-year old Bramble. The selectors were impressed by Bramble’s batting in crisis situations for West Indies B at the GLT20 Canada and Guyana Jaguars in the West Indies Championship and Super50 Cup.
Carlos Brathwaite continues to lead the side in the shortest format while familiar names Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis and Oshane Thomas are also included.
The first two T20Is against India are played in Florida before the teams fly to Guyana for the final T20I. West Indies could make squad changes for that final T20I.
Squad for first two T20Is: Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Anthony Bramble (wk), John Campbell, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas