ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — West Indies have selected their 15-man squad for the crucial ICC World Cup qualifiers without a ball bowled in the Regional Super50, recalling all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite and Kemar Roach. But selectors were snubbed by the experienced quartet of Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Darren Bravo.
The squad, led by regular Captain Jason Holder, however, includes veteran batsmen Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, and represents the core of the unit which suffered a humbling whitewash in the three-match series in New Zealand last December.
Left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell and batsman Shimron Hetmyer, late additions to the squad for the New Zealand series, have been retained but Ronsford Beaton, Kyle Hope, Shannon Gabriel and Chadwick Walton have all been left out.
Chief selector Courtney Browne said in a statement he had reached out to Pollard, Narine, Russell and Bravo but they had opted to play in the Pakistan Super League which bowls off February 22, and runs alongside the World Cup qualifying tournament from March 4-25.
“We are pleased to announce a squad that has a combination of experience and youth,” Browne said.
“Given the importance of the West Indies qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, we thought it was important that we chose players who brought not only skills but experience to the table, combined with younger players who had performed creditably on the international scene.
“We contacted some of our well-known senior cricketers to ascertain their availability for the tournament and we are pleased that Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels have indicated their full support and commitment to the cause.”
He added: “Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo and Andre Russell, however, indicated that they were unavailable to help us qualify as their priority was playing in the Pakistan Super League.”
Narine, the region’s leading spinner and Pollard, a big-hitting all-rounder has not played an One-Day International (ODI) in 15 months while Russell is now returning to international cricket following a one-year ban for an anti-doping whereabout breach.
Bravo, meanwhile, has not played for West Indies in any format since an ill-advised Twitter rant against Cricket West Indies president Dave Cameron, resulted in his sending home ahead of the Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe, in November 2016.
He was subsequently barred from selection but is yet to play since a truce in his standoff with CWI was announced last July.
Brathwaite and Roach, meanwhile, have been handed lifelines in their one-day careers.
The 29-year-old Brathwaite, the Windies Twenty20 captain, played the last of his 23 ODIs last March when he was dropped for a poor run of form which saw him gather 113 runs in his last eight innings at an average of 14.
Fellow Barbadian Roach has not been seen in one-day colours in nearly three years, during which time he struggled with loss of form and injury, and also went missing from the Test squad.
However, the 29-year-old seamer made a successful return to the Test arena last year, taking 25 wickets in seven appearances.
He has taken 99 wickets in 67 ODI matches.
Browne said he expected both players to be valuable assets to the squad in terms of their experience.
“We welcome back Carlos Braithwaite and value his contribution to the team on and off the field,” the former Test wicketkeeper said.
“Kemar Roach is a highly experienced player who recently returned to international cricket last year; he is also a good addition to our ODI squad, as we set out to win the ICC World Cup Qualifiers.
“We expect this squad under the able leadership of Jason Holder, supported by a core group of senior players, to achieve this goal. Of course, head coach Stuart Law and his staff will provide all the support and guidance necessary.”
The Regional Super50, which bowls off next week, normally serves as a prerequisite for selection to the ODI squad but International Cricket Council regulations required West Indies to submit a squad by February 2.
West Indies are down to compete in Group A of the World Cup Qualifiers alongside Ireland, The Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, and winners of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2.
Squad — Jason Holder (captain), Jason Mohammed (vice-captain), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cotterell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams.