Right-handed middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner has been recalled to the West Indies 17-member provisional Test squad announced by the Roger Harper-led selection panel on Monday.
The 32-year-old Jamaican, who earned a middle-order spot on the starting XI with his consistent performances in Bangladesh earlier this year, has fully recovered from the concussion he suffered when he top-edged a delivery from South Africa’s Anrich Nortje onto his helmet during the First Test in St Lucia.
Left-hander Darren Bravo, however, has never quite recovered from the hit he took when the Dave Cameron-led CWI declined to continue considering him for selection for two years. And the loss of form since his return to international cricket in January 2019—130-odd runs in 13 innings, including a solitary half-century—has seen him deemed surplus to requirements for the two-match Test series against Pakistan, which starts in Jamaica on Thursday.
Also recalled are fast bowler Chemar Holder and middle-order batsman Shamarh Brooks. Holder made his Test debut in New Zealand last year but has not featured since then. Brooks last played in New Zealand late last year but, says lead selector of the Senior Men’s Team Harper, ‘batted his way into the provisional squad by scoring an accomplished century’ in the Best vs Best four-day match which formed part of the preparations for the upcoming series.
Also omitted is fast bowler Shannon Gabriel. According to Harper, the 33-year-old ‘was not part of the preparations for the […] series, has been given time to rehab fully and build his conditioning’.
Harper explained that Bravo too ‘has been given a break’, having been ‘part of the ‘bubble’ from the preparation camp leading into the Betway Test series against South Africa’.
Chemar Holder’s return, according to Harper, is expected to ‘bolster the fast bowling department’, spearheaded by veteran Kemar Roach and including former captain Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, and the inexperienced Jayden Seales. The former Under-19 World Cup-winning pacer, who turns 20 next month, earned his Test cap earlier this year in the two-Test series against South Africa.
Kyle Mayers, who hit an impressive double century on debut in Bangladesh to help the regional side to a surprise 2-0 series win, adds depth to both the batting and bowling line-ups. Since sealing his place in the middle order after Bangladesh, he has shown himself to be an important contributor with the ball
Kieran Powell, who joined the team as a concussion substitute when Bonner was injured, is expected to continue to partner skipper Kraigg Brathwaite at the top of the order. Team vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood, Shai Hope, Roston Chase and Jahmar Hamilton will compete with Brooks and Bonner for four or five places in the middle order, one of which will inevitably go to wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva.
Right-arm off-spinner Chase will also be called upon to contribute in the spin department where the similar right-handed off-spin offerings of Rahkeem Cornwall will be complemented by Jomel Warrican’s left-arm orthodox style.
“I expect the team to be highly competitive in every department while playing with passion, purpose and determination,” Harper added.
And he ending on this optimistic note: “I look forward to the batsmen stepping up as they did in the series against Bangladesh and against Sri Lanka earlier this year in Antigua.”
The two-match Test Series is carded for Sabina Park from August 12-16 and August 20-24. The series is the first of six in the new cycle of the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship designed to throw up at its conclusion the world’s best Test team.
West Indies full squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Jomel Warrican.