Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard have been recalled to the West Indies T20I squad for the opening two matches against India, with uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Anthony Bramble also earning a call-up.
Allrounder Andre Russell has been included subject to passing a fitness test following the knee injury which forced him out of the World Cup. John Campbell, the opening batsman, takes the spot vacated by Chris Gayle who is unavailable due to playing in the Canada GT20.
Narine, who last played T20Is nearly two years ago, is joined in the spin attack by left-armer Khary Pierre. Narine was in the frame to be part of the World Cup, but did not feel confident getting through 50-over cricket after a finger injury. The selectors are casting their eye forward to next year’s men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, where West Indies will defend their title, with the captaincy reverting to Carlos Brathwaite after Jason Holder took charge for the series against England earlier this year to try and bring some continuity ahead of the World Cup.
“We felt that players like Narine and Pollard, who have played well in T20 leagues around the world, once they are fit and mentally ready to play, we must give them the opportunity to represent the West Indies again,” Robert Haynes, the intern chairman of selection, said.
“It’s not just about the present – the India tour of the West Indies – but we are also looking at the T20 World Cup coming up next year and it is important that we find the right combination of players and the right formula for defending our title.
“We have to make sure that we put certain things in place now, so that when it comes to picking the squad for the T20 World Cup, it becomes easier, so we are giving more players the opportunity to play and get the exposure.”
Bramble, 28, will provide wicketkeeping back-up to Nicholas Pooran despite not having played an official T20 in close to three years. He did, however, captain West Indies B at last year’s Canada GLT20 and was picked up by Guyana Amazon Warriors in the CPL draft in May.
“He is young and has a lot of ambition, and we saw his character come out in the way he batted whenever Guyana Jaguars were in problems in the West Indies Championship and Super50 Cup, so we know he is capable of getting the job done,” Haynes said.
The selectors could make changes to the squad for third T20I in Guyana. India’s tour also includes three ODIs and two Tests.
Squad: Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Anthony Bramble (wk), John Campbell, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas (ESPNCricinfo)