Teenaged Trinidad and Tobago fast bowler Jayden Seales was among four new inclusions to the West Indies Test team for the first match of the Betway Test Series against South Africa, which bowls off on Thursday from 10am at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia.
Top order batsmen Shai Hope and Kieran Powell and all-rounder Roston Chase were also named in a 13-man squad for the First Test against the ‘Proteas’ by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel.
Head selector Roger Harper credited the steady improvement by the 19-year-old Seales, who was a member of West Indies’ 2020 Under-19 World Cup squad. He replaces compatriot Shannon Gabriel, who misses out through injury.
“Jayden Seales is young, very enthusiastic and has a big heart,” Harper told CWI Media. “In the ‘Best v Best’ matches, he bowled with pace, got movement and has displayed the ability to take wickets. We think he is capable of adding potency to the bowling attack.”
Harper suggested that Hope and Powell also had something to offer the Kraigg Brathwaite-led Test team. Hope, who twice featured in record ODI opening partnerships against Sri Lanka this March, last played Test cricket in England last July, while Powell’s last Test appearance was in Bangladesh in December 2018.
“Shai Hope has performed very well in the red ball matches he has played, following on the back of his highly successful One-Day International series against Sri Lanka,” said Harper, “so he has forced his way into the squad by performance.
“Kieran Powell we know is a very capable batsman who we expect to add quality and depth to the batting department. He put himself in the mix with his performance in the Best v Best match.”
Stylish Trinidad and Tobago middle-order batsman Darren Bravo, who was a reserve against Sri Lanka in March-April, failed to make the 13-man squd.
West Indies are unbeaten since their Test win against Bangladesh last year and Harper is anxious to see the team retain momentum.
“The aim is to continue to build on the performances of the last two Test series and to keep improving as a Test team,” he said. “We must continue the process of working hard, playing with great passion, playing with determination and a great desire to succeed. Doing that consistently will bring us the right results.
“The training camp gave the players the opportunity to prepare for the Betway Test series in all departments, considering that no real red ball cricket has been played since the series against Sri Lanka in March.”
West Indies (First Test team): Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales.