T20 team named
by Wade Gibbons
Talented middle-order batsman Darren Bravo has recovered from injury and has been named in a strong 15-man squad for next month’s International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
Bravo, who missed New Zealand’s tour of the Caribbean after returning home early from the England tour, is one of eight in the squad picked principally for their batting. Only three fast bowlers — Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul and Andre Russell — have been chosen. Russell, a bowling all-rounder, is also expected to contribute significantly to the batting.
The predictable squad also sees the return of utility player Lendl Simmons. Simmons, who bats, bowls and can also keep wicket, was dropped from the starting line-up after a string of low scores against New Zealand and England, but has generally been one of West Indies’ leading lights in the shorter forms of the game over the past 12 months.
Johnson Charles has retained his place in the side despite wasting opportunities at the top of the order in his 14 internationals so far. With Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith and Simmons likely to provide the first choice options at the top of the order, Charles might struggle to make the starting 11.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Twenty20 specialist Samuel Badree has got the nod as the second choice spinner in the squad and returns to the sub-continent where his frequently spin-less leg-spin has proven virtually impossible to dominate while playing for Trinidad in the Champions League.
Selectors would have deliberated somewhat over the choice among Tino Best, whose cricket has shown marked improvement in past months, Kemar Roach, who has been West Indies’ best fast bowler in recent times, and Edwards.
Edwards, the most experienced of the trio, got the nod, despite lingering suspicions over his total fitness. Roach’s almost chronic no-ball problems of the past three months would not have helped his cause in the demanding Twenty20 format.
West Indies are in the fortunate position that with the obvious exception of wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin and Charles, all the selectees can bowl and have bowled at the international level.
Powerful batting-allrounder Kieron Pollard believes this is the regional side’s best opportunity at winning the Twenty20 World Cup.
Speaking at a luncheon yesterday in honour of the Bravo brothers, Narine and himself at Queen’s Park Cricket Club, Pollard said the West Indies had the artillery to do well in the September 18 to October 7 tournament.
“I think we have a very good chance. We have the players to go out there and perform in each and every department so, hopefully, like I said before, we can put the pieces of the puzzle together and actually come out there and form that big picture. At the end of the day, we have the team. We can say we have our best chance but those are just names on paper. Actually performing … performances are what matter and that is what we need to deliver on the field,” he said.
Eight of the team have played in the Indian Premier League.
The full squad is: Darren Sammy (Captain), Dwayne Bravo (Vice Captain), Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin (wicket-keeper), Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Smith.
Fixtures for ICC World T20
West Indies warm-ups:
Thursday, Sept 13: vs Sri Lanka – NCC, Colombo
Monday, Sept 17: vs Afghanistan – P Sara Oval, Colombo
Saturday, Sept 22: vs Australia – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Monday, Sept 24: vs Ireland – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Thursday, Sept 27: C1 v D2 – Pallekele
Thursday, Sept 27: A1 v B2 – Pallekele
Friday, Sept 28: D1 v C2 – Colombo
Friday, Sept 28: B1 v A2 – Colombo
Saturday, Sept 29: A1 v D2 – Pallekele
Saturday, Sept 29: C1 v B2 – Pallekele
Sunday Sept 30: B1 v C2 – Colombo
Sunday Sept 30: D1 v A2 – Colombo
Monday, Oct 1: B2 v D2 – Pallekele
Monday, Oct 1: A1 v C1 – Pallekele
Tuesday, Oct 2: B1 v D1 – Colombo
Tuesday, Oct 2: A2 v C2 – Colombo
Thursday, October 4: Super 8 Group 1-1 vs Super 8 Group 2-2 – R Premadasa Stadium
Friday, October 5: Super 8 Group 2-1 vs Super 8 Group 1-2 – R Premadasa Stadium
Grand Final: Sunday, October 7 – R Premadasa Stadium