All-rounder Jason Holder and batsman Darren Bravo were the only changes to the West Indies Test squad, as the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel kept faith with the core of its squad who participated in the 2-0 Test series win away to Bangladesh last month.
West Indies are captained by Kraigg Brathwaite, who has officially replaced Holder in that role, with Jermaine Blackwood as vice-captain.
The first Test will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua from 21-25 March, while a CWI President’s XI face Sri Lanka in a two-day warm-up match at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on 17-18 March.
Holder and Bravo were among 12 withdrawals from the Bangladesh series due to Covid-19 concerns. The CWI’s Covid-19 policy allows players to opt out of a tour due to health concerns without prejudice to future selection.
However, CWI lead selector Roger Harper said the Test squad to face Sri Lanka was influenced by ‘very encouraging’ showings in Bangladesh.
“It is a fantastic opportunity to build on the good work that was done in Bangladesh,” said Harper. “It is very important to 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.”
Harper suggested too that the Bangladesh tour presented selectors with a widened player pool, which should benefit the regional team.
“A number of players seized the opportunity that the tour of Bangladesh presented and booked a place for themselves in the Test team for this series,” he said. “This now means that there is keen competition for places, which should drive better individual performances and that of the team.
“I also think that these players are looking forward to displaying their skills on home soil.”
West Indies squad for first Test: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Darren Bravo, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Kemar Roach, and Jomel Warrican.
CWI President’s XI Squad: Roston Chase (captain), Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Shannon Gabriel, Jahmar Hamilton, Keon Harding, Kavem Hodge, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Veerasammy Permaul, Anderson Phillip, and Kemar Roach.
Following the conclusion of the CWI President’s XI match, Chase, Hamilton and Holder (C) will remain as reserves for the first Test, while Seales will serve as a developmental player.