Thirty-two year old Antigua and Barbuda wicketkeeper-batsman Devon Thomas was one of three uncapped players named by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel in a 12-man squad for the first Test against Bangladesh from Thursday 16 June at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
Thomas, a former West Indies youth cricketer, played 21 One-Day Internationals for the ‘Maroon Men’—the last of which was against Australia on 10 February 2013—while he also has four T20 Internationals under his belt. However, he never got a chance to play for the Test team. Until now.
In the recently concluded West Indies Championship, Thomas was the third highest scorer with 414 runs at an average of 59.14. No other batsman crossed 50 runs as many times either, as the Leeward Islands Hurricanes batsman tallied one century and four half-centuries in seven innings.
CWI men’s lead selector Dr Desmond Haynes choose to reward Thomas’ form with a Test call-up. The other uncapped players in the team are left-arm Guyana Harpy Eagles spinner Gudakesh Motie and Trinidad and Tobago Red Force fast bowler Anderson Phillip.
Phillip, who featured in three ODIs for the West Indies, was in the team for the Apex Test Series but did not play, while Gudakesh Motie’s top-flight career so far comprises of a solitary T20I.
Barbados Pride allrounder Raymon Reifer, who has a solitary Test cap under his belt, also got a West Indies summons.
“Devon Thomas has been knocking on the door for quite some time,” Haynes told the CWI Media. “He has done extremely well in our franchise cricket system and we view this as a good opportunity to give him a go.
“You would notice that Raymon Reifer is also in the squad. He is another person that has done impressively well in the four-day competition and against England [earlier this year]. So again, we are giving opportunities to guys who are performing.
“We think Gudakesh Motie is one of those guys who is also bowling well, and we think it will be a good opportunity for him to be involved.”
Motie is the sole spinner in the Test squad to face Bangladesh, while Bryan Charles (Red Force) and Jomel Warrican (Jamaica Scorpions) were selected in the CWI President’s XI outfit.
Neither Rahkeem Cornwall (Leeward Islands) nor Veerasammy Permaul (Guyana) were selected. Cornwall led all bowlers at the recently concluded four-day competition with 23 wickets.
There was an explanation for the absence of allrounder Jason Holder, as the CWI Media said he was ‘granted his request for a period of rest and recovery’ after the IPL competition as well as appearances for West Indies in all three formats, earlier this year.
Veteran pacer Kemar Roach could yet be added to the team for the First Test if he passes a fitness examination, though, as he ‘recovers from an injury sustained in the English County Championship with Surrey’.
The reserves for the Test team are Guyana opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Leeward Islands fast bowler Shermon Lewis.
The Test team is captained by Barbados opener Kraigg Brathwaite with Jamaica’s middle order batsman Jermaine Blackwood as vice-captain.
“We are looking to pick up World Test Championship points against Bangladesh which will be very important,” said Haynes. “It would be good for us to use our home advantage to win both Test matches and collect those points.”
Haynes also named 29-year-old Trinidad and Tobago middle-order batsman Yannic Cariah as captain of the President’s XI team, which faces Bangladesh from Friday 10 June at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.
“Yannic Cariah has captained Trinidad and Tobago at youth level and he was also the captain of the West Indies Emerging Players team which won the CG United Super50 Cup in 2019,” said Haynes. “We are looking at future leaders. We need to start identifying these persons as early as possible.
“While we will need some assistance from the territories as well, we want to make sure there are leaders we can identify and begin grooming for the future of West Indies cricket.”
There was no joy for Leeward Islands batsman Kieran Powell who was the third most prolific scorer of the West Indies Championship with 405 runs from eight innings, at an average of 57.85. Guyanese pacer Keemo Paul, whose 20 wicket haul was second only to Cornwall’s 23, also failed to get the nod.
Fans can purchase tickets for the two match Series via the new Windies Tickets service presented by Mastercard, at www.tickets.windiestickets.com. Tickets start from US$6/EC$15 for mounds/grounds entry with general admission seating available for US$15/EC$40.
Test squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Joshua Da Silva, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Anderson Phillip, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales, Devon Thomas.
Reserves: Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Shermon Lewis.
CWI President’s XI: Yannic Cariah (captain), Colin Archibald, Alick Athanaze, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Bryan Charles, Roston Chase, Tevin Imlach, Jeremiah Louis, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Jeremy Solozano, Jomel Warrican.
(Match Schedule – Bangladesh tour of West Indies)
10-12 June: Bangladesh vs CWI President’s XI – Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua Local start time 10am/9am Jamaica time
16-20 June: 1st Test – Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua. Local start time 10am/9am Jamaica
24-28 June: 2nd Test – Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia. Local start time 10am/9am Jamaica
2 July: 1st T20I – Windsor Park, Dominica. Local start time 1:30pm/12:30pm Jamaica
3 July: 2nd T20I – Windsor Park, Dominica Local start time 1:30pm/12:30pm Jamaica
7 July: 3rd T20I – Guyana Stadium, Guyana, Local start time 1:30pm/12:30pm Jamaica
10 July: 1st CG United ODI – Guyana Stadium, Guyana. Local start time 9:30am/8:30am Jamaica
13 July: 2nd CG United ODI – Guyana Stadium, Guyana. Local start time 9:30am/8:30am Jamaica
16 July: 3rd CG United ODI – Guyana Stadium, Guyana. Local start time 9:30am/8:30am Jamaica