Sunil Narine returns to international cricket next month after being named in the 15-man World Cup squad which includes five allrounders, three specialist batsmen, four fast bowlers, two spinners and a wicketkeeper.
Jason Holder, named captain for the South Africa ODI series, retains the position and as reported on Thursday, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have been left out by the Clive Lloyd-led selection panel.
Also making a comeback is Darren Bravo, who had opted out of the Test series for personal reasons and wasn’t part of the ODIs scheduled to follow. Fast bowler Kemar Roach, who suffered an ankle injury in the Centurion Test and had to return home, finds a place in the 15 as well.
“I believe we have selected a very good team which will do West Indies proud at the World Cup,” Lloyd said via a WICB media release. “We have a good mixture of some good seasoned players and some good youngsters who will fly the West Indies flag in Australia and New Zealand.
“If they play to their potential I am quite sure we will do very well. I have really high hopes in this team – I believe they can do something special. We have the talent and if we can play to our potential we have a very good chance of lifting that trophy.”
Narine’s return will come as the greatest boost for West Indies. A proven match-winner, he was ranked No. 2 on the ODI and T20 rankings when his action was reported as suspect in successive matches during the Champions League Twenty20 last September. Consequently, Narine missed out on playing in the final for Kolkata Knight Riders, who lost to Chennai Super Kings.
Although Narine’s citation in the CLT20 did not impact his chances of bowling in international cricket – he was only suspended from doing so in BCCI-organised tournaments – Lloyd had expressed annoyance at the scrutiny when West Indies arrived in India last October and withdrew Narine from that tour, which was cut short once the West Indies players pulled out after the fourth ODI owing to contractual disputes.
According to WICB, Narine had opted to rehabilitate himself and considering that he has been picked, the selectors must be confident that he has made the necessary adjustments. It would be Narine’s first time at a World Cup as he made his ODI debut in December 2011.
Although Lloyd made a general comment on the composition of the squad, he did not touch on why Bravo and Pollard were dropped. The two players, along with Darren Sammy were originally not part of the South Africa ODI series, but Sammy was subsequently included and also found a place in the World Cup squad.
According to former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding, Bravo and Pollard were being punished by the WICB for instigating the strike during the Indian tour. The players’ legal counsel said his clients were being victimised as well.
Marlon Samuels, who claimed after the pull-out from the India tour that he had wanted to complete the series, has been named the vice-captain and is the most experienced player in the squad after Chris Gayle.
West Indies squad:Jason Holder (captain), Marlon Samuels, Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor.