Shepherd replaces injured Bravo in T20 squad
St John’s – Fast-bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd has been called up for the Twenty20 International tour of New Zealand after injury ruled veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo out of the squad.
The 25-year-old Shepherd replaces Bravo who sustained a groin injury playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League last weekend, and will now return home to continue his recovery.
Shepherd, a lively seamer and hard-hitting lower order batsman, has played five One-Day Internationals and two T20 Internationals, and featured in both formats as recently as last January against Ireland.
“This is a great opportunity for me, and I want to take it with both hands,” the Guyanese said.
“I was in the team before, last year and earlier this year, so I have a good feel of the game at this level. I’ve been training hard and working at all areas of my game so I’m ready.”
For Bravo, the injury comes as a massive blow, especially since he only returned to West Indies colours for the Ireland tour following a three-and-a-half year break.
He is the most experienced member of the squad with 512 wickets in 471 Twenty20s, and already with two T20 World Cup titles under his belt.
Bravo, the older brother of Test batsman Darren Bravo, said while the injury was a setback, he was focussed on rebounding again.
“I was really looking forward to the tour of New Zealand as it has been so many months since I last wore maroon in Sri Lanka back in March and we are all so excited about building towards defending our T20 World Cup next year,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the injury I sustained on Saturday playing for CSK has not only ruled me out of the IPL but also the tour. I’m making arrangements to return to Trinidad over the next few days where I will continue my rehab and treatment.
“I’m fully committed to representing the West Indies and I just need to get myself stronger again.”
A knee injury sustained in the Caribbean Premier League kept Bravo out of CSK’s first three matches of the IPL ongoing in the United Arab Emirates but he returned to feature in their next six matches.
Bravo joins a growing list of veteran players who will not feature on the New Zealand tour with Sunil Narine, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons all missing for varying reasons.
The three-match series runs from November 27-30 in Auckland and Mount Maunganui.
SQUAD – Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams. (CMC)