WI sticking with squad
In a show of solidarity, the West Indies selectors have kept faith with the same players who were swept aside 2-0 by India in their recent cricket series for next month’s three-Test rubber in New Zealand.
With the identical 15-man squad chosen, the selectors have once again omitted off-spinner Sunil Narine, who took 12 wickets in last year’s two-Test series against the Black Caps in the Caribbean which the West Indies won 2-0.
The West Indies suffered innings defeats in both Tests to India inside three days with Marlon Samuels and wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin managing half-centuries in woeful batting displays.
Left-arm spinner Veersammy Permaul and rookie fast fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell, who were both dropped after the first Test against India have both retained their places.
Fiery fast bowler Tino?Best, who took a wicket in each of the two Tests, has also been retained as well as left-handed middle order batsman Narsingh Deonarine, who failed in both innings after he replaced Permaul for the second Test.
Once again, just two specialist openers in the experienced Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell have been selected with no room found for 20-year-old Barbadian opener Kraigg Brathwaite.
Brathwaite was the West Indies’ most prolific batsman on the recent A Team tour of India, scoring 334 runs at an average of 66.80.
The poor performances in India have sparked a fresh call from former Windies fast bowler Michael Holding for a change in the captaincy as well as calls in some quarters for a shake-up in the squad.
Darren Sammy, who scored 25 runs over four innings and bowled 21 wicketless overs in the series, continues to captain the side.
“He should not be in the team. If Darren Sammy is going to be captaining the West Indies team or playing for West Indies he should be playing in the shorter forms of the game . . . 50 overs 20 overs that’s fine. The type of slogging that he tries in 50 and 20 overs, he tries the same in Test matches which don’t work,” Holding said in an interview with ESPN Cricinfo last week.
“He bats the same way every time he goes out to bat. His bowling is mediocre. If you are going to have Darren Sammy as an all-rounder he has got to take more wickets than he is taking and he also has to be making more runs that he is making,” added Holding.
In 35 Tests, Sammy has taken 77 wickets at 35.66 runs apiece while he has scored 1189 runs at an average of 21.23 with one hundred and four half-centuries.
Former West Indies batsman Bryan Davis also called for a change in the captaincy.
“I think it’s most certainly apt for a change at this time,” said Davis in an interview with the Trinidad Express. “You can’t just continue on this journey we’re going on here with that sort of poor performance. It has to be revisited, and they have to have a serious view of it”.
Davis has also criticized the non-selection of Narine and pacer Ravi Rampaul and described Best as “not up to standard” for Test level. “It could be captaincy, coaching, and the preparation of the players. I don’t know, but somebody has to look at it,” he said.
The series will be important one for off-spinner Shane Shillingford, who was the West Indies’ main wicket-taker in India with 11 scalps.
Shillingford, along with part-time off-spinner Samuels, have been reported for suspected illegal bowling actions.
They are required to get their actions independently tested within the next 21 days and submit the results of the tests within a further 14 days.
Failure to do so could result in both being suspended from bowling in international cricket until remedial action has been taken. The two can, however, continue bowling in international cricket during this period.
Middle order batsman Kirk Edwards and reserve wicket-keeper Chadwick Walton, who were both on the Indian tour but didn’t play in any of the two?Tests, have also been retained.
The first Test starts on December 3 in Dunedin. Currently at No. 6 on the Test rankings, the West Indies will slip one rung lower should they lose 2-0 or worse.
SQUAD: Darren Sammy (captain), Denesh Ramdin (vice-captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sheldon Cottrell, Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Veersammy Permaul, Kieron Powell, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford, Chadwick Walton.
Management unit: Ottis Gibson (head coach), Richie Richardson (team operations manager), Andre Coley (assistant coach), Stuart Williams (assistant coach), C.J. Clark (physiotherapist), Hector Martinez Charles (strength and conditioning coordinator), Richard Berridge (video and statistical analyst), Virgil Browne (massage therapist), Adriel “Woody” Richard (media relations manager). (EZS/CMC)