A major facelift has been performed on the West Indies cricket team.
In a move featuring several changes to the unsuccessful World Cup unit, the selectors have dropped veterans Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, picked four first-timers and offered recalls to three players in a youthful 13-man squad to face Pakistan in a one-off Twenty20 International at the start of the 2011 Digicel home series.
Additionally, high-profile players Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard were not considered for selection since they were ineligible after missing the Caribbean Twenty20 competition last January when they were participating in Australia’s Big Bash.
It means that only six of the 18 who went to the World Cup are in the squad for the T20 International on April 21 at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia, and the squad does not include single player over the age of 30.
All-rounder Christopher Barnwell of Guyana, hard-hitting Jamaican batsman Danza Hyatt, Barbadian off-spinning all-rounder Ashley Nurse and Jamaican left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie, who were summoned on the strength of their performances in the last two Caribbean Twenty20 tournaments.
Those recalled to international duty are batsmen Marlon Samuels of Jamaica, Lendl Simmons of Trinidad and Tobago and Andre Fletcher of Windwards after solid returns in the ongoing WICB regional four-day competition.
It is Samuels’ first international call-up since serving a two-year-ban by the International Cricket Council last that ended last May and his selection comes after his heavy scoring this season in which his 830 runs at an average of 69.16 have made him the tournament’s leading run-scorer.
In announcing the squad, chairman of selectors Clyde Butts said the choices were aimed at giving players an opportunity in the build-up to the next World Twenty20.
The omissions of Chanderpaul, 36, and Sarwan, 30, are not entirely a surprise. They have never been standouts in the extra shorter form of the game and neither impressed at the World Cup.
It is expected, however, that the Guyanese pair will return for the five-match One-Day International series starting on April 23.
In addition to Chanderpaul and Sarwan, the other World Cup casualties are opener Devon Smith, who was West Indies’ most successful batsman at the World Cup, batsman Kirk Edwards, wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Thomas, along with left-arm spinners Sulieman Benn and Nikita Miller.
The six players from the World Cup to retain their places are captain Darren Sammy, batsman Darren Bravo, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and fast bowlers Kemar Roach, Andre Russell and Ravi Rampaul.