The Squad: Jason Holder (c), Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Ashley Nurse, Fabian Allen, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Oshane Thomas, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis.
As soon as the Chairman of West Indies Cricket Board Ricky Skerritt made the announcement that the Board was looking to mend its estranged relationship with global stars like Darren Sammy among others, there was, suddenly, huge excitement about which global T20 stars will make the cut in the Caribbean squad for the World Cup 2019. Predictions, speculations, and arguments were doing multiple rounds as the cricketing fraternity vouched for the inclusion of their favourite West Indian stars. Finally, the wait got over yesterday as West Indies Cricket Board announced their 15-member contingent for the mega event – becoming the last of the ten cricket boards to do so.
Andre Russell, who is now a globally revered T20 star, made the cut while Keiron Pollard wasn’t as lucky. Russell, who last played an ODI game in July 2018 when West Indies played against England, has been brought back as the X-factor addition to the side. A notable omission from the squad is Devendra Bishoo who failed to impress the selectors while the gun pacer Shannon Gabriel was successful in gaining selectors’ liking. Selectors have also retained the left-arm pace option of Sheldon Cottrell who was a part of Windies pace attack in the recent series against England.
Here, we take a look at how the West Indies Squad shapes up for the Marquee Event-
Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Darren Bravo
The batting looks like an intelligent mix of aggression and stability. Gayle and Lewis will be banked upon to provide the run-away starts upfront which will be crucial in raking up a big total in the end.
Shai Hope and Darren Bravo are more of the copy-book style players who will be looked at to play through the innings so that the likes of Hetmyer and Pooran, who both are natural stroke-players, have the license to go for the kill. Also, Pooran has been named to share the wicket-keeping duties with Hope.
Jason Holder, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite
All three proper all-round options are that of pace-bowling all-rounders with Jason Holder also having the captaincy ropes in hand. Andre Russell has kind of re-incarnated himself into a merciless hitting beast who can also trouble the batsmen with his searing pace.
Brathwaite can be termed as a mild pace option of Russell but when it comes to batting, he will be right beside him in the hitting prowess whose testament can be derived from his four sixes off Ben Stokes to win the last T20 World Cup for West Indies.
Ashley Nurse, Fabian Allen
One thing that stands out in this West Indian squad is that it isn’t short in quality hitting options and Ashley Nurse serves as the continuation of that quality with a strike-rate of 98 in ODIs for a decent enough average of almost 20.
Added to that is his main skill of bowling handy off-breaks which in the recent past had the likes of Shikhar Dhawan in a fix. The selectors have also included a diverse option of left-arm orthodox spin from Fabian Allen. Holder will probably line up with only one of the two spinning options considering the fact that he has a lot of pace-bowling all-rounders to use in the English conditions.
Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell
Two outright pace options in Thomas and Gabriel to go with the guiles of Roach and Cottrell, West Indies have a well-rounded pace battery. Thomas had the Indian batsmen in a fix with his raw pace and especially became the cause of Shikhar Dhawan’s misery in the 5-match ODI series and will be looking to replicate the same in the mega-competition.
Gabriel and Roach can play the guiding light for a young Thomas to follow. These three will be the first choice pacers while Cottrell can come in as the diversity option.
Probable XI: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, Jason Holder ©, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Oshane Thomas.