West Indies made a quiet arrival in Guyana yesterday to begin preparation for the 2016 Tri-Nation One-Day International (ODI) series involving Australia and South Africa.
The squad, led by captain Jason Holder, arrived at 14:20hrs at the Eugene Correia International Airport to a warm welcome from Director of Sport Christopher Jones, president and vice-president of the Guyana Cricket Board Drubahadur and Fizul Bacchus as well as Digicel (Guyana) Incorporated Head of Marketing, Jacqueline James, before heading to the team’s hotel.
It was a typical warm Guyanese welcome as the country prepares to host international cricket for the first time since July 16, 2013.
Speaking shortly after the arrival, head coach Phil Simmons told media operatives that as a team they will look at the best way possible to win the tournament.
Asked if the omission of a number of key players will affect West Indies chances in the series, Simmons said, “We are here to play against two teams, and that is what we will do.”
Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo were all left out of the West Indies squad for the first four games.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine and all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who have not played international cricket since November 2015, were included in the 14-man squad.
World Cup T20 match-winner Carlos Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels, who played key roles in West Indies’ World T20 triumph earlier this year, have also been included, but the squad does not include all-rounder Andre Russell, Sammy, Bravo and Gayle.
The squad includes two players who are yet to play in ODIs for the West Indies — off-spinner Ashley Nurse, who was part of the World T20-winning squad last month, and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who has played 16 Test matches.
Meanwhile, Drubahadur disclosed that Guyana is fully prepared and ready to host an event of this magnitude.
The GCB head assured that security aspect is under control, since it’s the board number one priority.
Further Jones indicted that the games coincide with Guyana’s Jubilee celebrations, and are a additional treat for all.
Even though no Guyanese has been included in the West Indies squad, Jones is calling on cricket-loving fans in Guyana to come out and continue to throw their support behind the regional team.
James handed over a pack of SIM cards to Simmons, so that the players can stay connected during their sojourn here in Guyana.
The home team will have their first practice session at Providence between 14:00hrs and 17:00 hrs today.
On Friday June 3, West Indies face number three-ranked South Africa, before facing five-time World Cup champions and number one-ranked Australia on Sunday June 5. Australia battle South Africa on Tuesday June 7.
All the games are day/night encounters and commence at 13:00hrs. Gates open at 11:00hrs.
After the first round of matches in Guyana, the tournament will head to Warner Park in St Kitts & Nevis for three more games and will conclude in Barbados with the final round of three matches and the grand final at the Kensington Oval on June 26.
This is the first time that a full series of matches will be played under lights in the Caribbean.
West Indies squad: Jason Holder (capt.), Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor.
(Taken from Guyana Chronicle)