A recall for Denesh Ramdin and Lendl Simmons. A call-up for Hayden Walsh Jr and Brandon King. Darren Bravo dropped. No Sunil Narine and Shannon Gabriel. Those were the fruits of Roger Harper and Miles Bascombe’s first West Indies team selection ahead of the Afghanistan series taking place in India between November 5 to December 22. Both men faced the T&T press on Tuesday as they unveiled what the new era of West Indies cricket will look like.
While Kieron Pollard was confirmed as white-ball captain a month ago, his limited-overs squads for the three T20Is and three One Day Internationals (ODIs) offer him a mixture of youth and experience. Simmons, who initially wasn’t drafted for the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), was then called up for the first three matches of the tournament in Dwayne Bravo’s absence, then played the entire season after Bravo was ruled out, saw his fortune soar even further with a West Indies T20I return.
He spoke of his mental toughness in an interview with Guardian Media Sports on Tuesday. “If you an international player, you have to be mentally tough. It was more mental preparation than anything else,” Simmons said responding to a question about his recall. He hammered 430 runs in 11 innings during the CPL. Ramdin, who has also shown consistency retains a place in the T20I team 11 months after he last played in maroon.
However, the selection panel has signalled its intention to mix experience with youth. Two of the CPL’s brightest stars in Hayden Walsh Jr and Brandon King have earned their places on the limited-overs sides. They were the top bowler and batsman respectively in the competition. T&T left-arm spinner Khary Pierre has also been selected in both squads as is Evin Lewis and Nicholas Pooran.
While there are some eye-catching additions to the limited-overs squads, there are two notable absentees from the Test squad. While Harper confirmed fast-bowler Shannon Gabriel asked not to be selected on medical grounds and Sunil Narine was not considered for the same reason, the smaller Bravo was dropped, though Harper would hardly call it that. “We wanted to allow him to go away, get his game right and come back being the best that he could be so he could make a real positive impact for the West Indies team,” the lead selector said of Bravo’s drop.
The Afghanistan series will run concurrently with that of the Super50 Cup scheduled for November 6 to December 1 in St Kitts and Trinidad. Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams shrugged off the reality of the region’s marquee One Day tournament being played without its star players.
“In following CPL for the last couple of years, we’ve seen an abundance of young talent coming through and I see no reason why at a tournament like our Super50, we won’t get a chance to see more of our young players and get them started on the road to international cricket. I see it as an opportunity,” the former West Indies captain said.
The T20I series will bowl off on November 5 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehra Dun.
TEST – Jason Holder (captain), Shai Hope, John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris, Jomel Warrican, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph.
ODI – Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph.
T20I – Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Hayden Walsh Jr, Jason Holder, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Denesh Ramdin, Kesrick Williams, Alzarri Joseph.