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Blackwood, Johnson called up for 2nd Test
Inform batsmen Jermaine Blackwood and Leon Johnson have been called up for the West Indies for the second Test match against New Zealand starting at the Queen’s Park Oval tomorrow. With the regional side going under by 186 runs in the opening match of the series in Jamaica, there were calls for wholesale changes and the selectors decided that to drop Jamaican middle order batsman Marlon Samuels and opener Kieran Powell. As was reported exclusively in the T&T Guardian on Saturday, all rounder Dwayne Bravo was not considered as he injured his hamstring and will be out of action for the next month.
Samuels had two two-ball ducks in the opening match in front of his home crowd and looked completely out of sorts. Powell struck 28 in the first innings and fell for a duck in the second. The young right hander Blackwood who played for the West Indies Under-19 team at the World Cup in New Zealand four years ago, comes in with a lot of runs under his belt. He recently scored two centuries against the visiting Bangladesh ‘A’ while representing the Sagicor High Performance Centre (HPC) and came into that series with scores of 94 and 118 while leading Jamaica to the regional First Class title in the finals against the Windward Islands. The 22-year-old has played just 16 First Class matches and averages 40.38 with three hundreds and six half centuries.
Johnson has also been amongst the runs with recently scored two half centuries against Bangladesh A as well. The Guyanese who was West Indies Under-19 captain many years ago did have a stint with the senior team when they played a series against Bermuda and Canada in 2008.
Struggling Barbadian batsman Kirk Edwards remains on the team despite a double failure in the first Test and the selectors will have to decide if they will go for his experience or use one out of the two youngsters that have been drafted into the squad. Kraigg Brathwaite is expected to replace Powell at the top of the order and will partner Chris Gayle as an opener. The bowling department remains untouched and a decision on whether to play three fast bowlers and one spinner or two fast bowlers and two spinners will hinge on the appearance of the pitch tomorrow morning. Yesterday, the West Indies practiced at the Queen’ s Park Oval and so did the New Zealanders. Today they will finalize their preparations with a session prior to lunch.
West Indies Team: Denesh Ramdin (capt), Chris Gayle, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Jermaine Blackwood, Leon Johnson, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Shane Shillingford, Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel.