Guyana batsman Shimron Hetmyer, Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva and Barbados pacer Chemar Holder were among 26 players named by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel for a four-day practice match, named ‘Best v Best’, in preparation for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
The match will be held at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) in Antigua from 8-11 March and gives an opportunity for players not involved in the limited overs series to remain sharp and push for places.
“The ‘Best v Best’ game is firstly part of our preparation for the Test series against Sri Lanka,” CWI lead selection Roger Harper told CWI Media. “It gives the players who performed well in the last West Indies championship an opportunity to showcase their skills, playing against each other.
“We expect [the players] to be very competitive and put forward a case for themselves. It is a chance to raise their stock and show what they can do.”
In particular, Harper suggested it was an opportunity for the players involved in the West Indies’ 2-0 Test series win over Bangladesh to hang on to their spots.
“The Test series win in Bangladesh was a real joy to watch,” said Harper. “The results were brilliant, but it was the passion, the application and the determination, as well as the team spirt that were exactly what we wanted to see.
“It was most encouraging to see everyone pulling together and working hard for each other and enjoying each other’s success. I think the team performed much better than many people thought they were capable of doing.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the team move forward and build from here.”
Kraigg Brathwaite, who captained the West Indies in Bangladesh, will lead ‘Squad A’ while Roston Chase heads ‘Squad B’.
The full teams are:
Squad A: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Derval Green, Keon Harding, Shimron Hetmyer, Kavem Hodge, Paul Palmer Jr, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieran Powell, Preston McSween, Jayden Seales.
Squad B: Roston Chase (captain), Sunil Ambris, Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, John Campbell, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Imran Khan, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, Nial Smith, Jomel Warrican.
Hetmyer and Chase, incidentally, were left out of the West Indies limited overs teams for failing fitness tests—according to CWI.
Fast bowlers Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel were both rested for the four day warm-up match due to ‘their workload management’.
Full West Indies match schedule
CCG – Coolidge Cricket Ground
SVRS – Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
March 3: 1st T20I at CCG – 6pm Eastern Caribbean Time (ECT);
March 5: 2nd T20I at CCG – 6pm ECT;
March 7: 3rd T20I at CCG – 6pm ECT;
March 8-11: ‘Best vs Best’ four-day match at CCG – 10am ECT;
March 10: 1st CG Insurance ODI at SVRS – 9:30am ECT;
March 12: 2nd CG Insurance ODI at SVRS – 9:30am ECT;
March 14: 3rd CG Insurance ODI at SVRS – 1:30pm ECT;
March 17-18: two-day warm-up match at CCG – 10am ECT;
March 21-25: 1st Test at SVRS – 10am ECT;
March 29 to April 2: 2nd Test at SVRS – 10am ECT.