Jamaica middle-order batsman Rovman Powell will serve as West Indies vice-captain in next month’s three-match T20 International series, as the “Maroon Men” prepare for their first outing in this format since the resignation of former skipper Kieron Pollard.
West Indies face Bangladesh in the first of three T20I matches on 2 July before moving on to three One Day International games starting on 10 July.
The 28-year-old Powell, who stood out during West Indies’ T20I series win over England in January, is now promoted to the position previously held by new captain Nicholas Pooran.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) lead men’s selector Dr Desmond Haynes noted that Powell captained West Indies before and leads his Cricket Premier League (CPL) franchise.
“Our role is to look at future leaders as well and we have identified a few, including himself,” Haynes told the CWI Media, “who we will be putting programmes around to ensure we keep them involved in that aspect of the cricket.”
There was a T20I recall too for left-arm pacer Obed McCoy, who has recovered from injury, as well as returns for veteran Leeward Islands wicketkeeper batsman Devon Thomas and fiery Guyana pacer Keemo Paul.
Guyana spinner Gudakesh Motie was also named on the West Indies’ ODI team. Thomas and Motie were recently named in the West Indies Test Team.
“Thomas is a very versatile cricketer, who has been knocking on the door in all formats,” said Haynes. “He has been doing well in franchise cricket and with that level of talent, we must ensure we keep him interested. He brings a lot to the table and is basically a four-dimensional player: he can bat, bowl, he is brilliant in the field, and he can keep wicket as well.
“McCoy has done exceptionally well in the IPL and enjoyed a successful stint in England as well, so we are confident that he is back to his best in terms of playing and fitness.”
Haynes suggested that it is up to the selected players to retain their positions for this year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, which starts on 16 October.
“Generally, we have to start looking at the bigger picture of getting these players playing together as often as possible,” said Haynes, “in preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup later down in the year. We need to ensure we are fielding a very strong side for that tournament.”
The West Indies teams are:
T20 Internationals: Nicholas Pooran (captain), Rovman Powell (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Devon Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.
Reserve: Dominic Drakes.
One-Day Internationals: Nicholas Pooran (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Keacy Carty, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Anderson Phillip, Rovman Powell, Jayden Seales.
Reserve: Romario Shepherd.
The changes in the West Indies’ white-ball team follows on the heels of the CWI Women’s Selection Panel’s decision to change the women’s captain—with 24-year-old Barbados allrounder Hayley Matthews appointed in place of 31-year-old Jamaica allrounder Stafanie Taylor.
Lead women’s selector Ann Browne-John hailed Taylor as one of the all-time greats of the West Indies women’s game. However, the CWI believes that, after seven years under Taylor’s leadership and with Matthews’ coming of age as a player, the time is ripe for change.
“[Matthews] has matured as a player and is one of the leading players worldwide with a good grasp of the game,” said Browne-John. “Given the experience that she would have gained in both roles, we are confident this is the ideal time for her to step into the role of captain.
“We recognise that leading the team for seven years is a considerable achievement to which Stafanie has given huge levels of commitment and energy. We believe Stafanie is a world class performer who will no doubt continue to add tremendous value to the team as one of the top all-rounders in the game.”
“Women’s head coach Courtney Walsh suggested that, with “the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup coming up early next year”, now is “the best time” to give a new captain some experience before the showcase tournament.
“Hayley Matthews is young, she has longevity in the game, and she can lead the team for a longer time to get the experience and we are here to support her,” said Walsh. “For us, it’s a win-win, as we will have Stafanie to concentrate on her best cricket and passing on guidance to Hayley as she grows in the role of taking the team forward.”
Matthews said she was “humbled and honoured” by her promotion.
“It is definitely an exhilarating feeling and I welcome the experience to lead and learn with open arms,” she said. “This team has been very close to my heart from the beginning of my professional career eight years ago and the influence of Stafanie’s leadership throughout those eight years has played a major role in the player I am today.
“I eagerly anticipate working with the players to continue building on the progress in which the team has made thus far. I would like to thank Stafanie for her astounding leadership of the team over the years. We’ve accomplished some of our biggest milestones with her at the forefront and I look forward to continuing playing alongside her.”