All-rounder Keemo Paul and left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie were recalled to the West Indies team for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 qualifiers, as lead selector Desmond Haynes tries to build on momentum gained in their South Africa tour—which finished 1-1.
The eight-team tournament bowls off on 18 June in Zimbabwe, with two berths at stake for the Cricket World Cup group stage.
Haynes, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) lead selector, suggested that Paul and Motie—who last represented the West Indies’ One-Day International (ODI) team in July 2022 against India—can strengthen the regional team.
“Paul is a three-dimensional player, who can bowl the new ball effectively, he’s dynamic in the outfield and he can also make vital runs,” Haynes told the CWI Media. “He is now fully recovered from injury and with his skillset we see him as a potential match-winner for us.
“Motie was excellent in the Test matches in Zimbabwe earlier this year, where he took 19 wickets, and we anticipate similar conditions for the qualifiers. We believe he will again relish the chance to bowl in those conditions. He is also a capable batsman and good in the outfield.”
Paul and Motie join a 15-man squad led by in-form wicketkeeper/ batsman Shai Hope, which also includes explosive batsman Brandon King, pacer Alzarri Joseph and talented all-rounders Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder and Akeal Hosein.
Only two members of the current squad, Nicholas Pooran and Holder, represented West Indies at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
“We have selected a balanced team which we believe is well equipped to get the job done in the conditions we anticipate in Zimbabwe,” said Haynes. “It will be a challenging tournament, it will be intense and competitive—there is no doubt about that.
“In speaking to the players, they are fully aware of the job at hand. We are happy with the preparations and the mindset of the players, and everyone is clear about their roles in the squad.”
Prior to the Cricket World Cup qualifying series, the West Indies will play its first three-match One Day International (ODI) Series against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Sharjah on 5, 7 and 9 June.
Although the CWI selection panel said the UAE warm-up matches will “form part of the preparations for the qualifiers”, permission was granted for the West Indies’ Indian Premier League (IPL) players to “return to the Caribbean for a short break before arriving in Zimbabwe for the qualification tournament”.
The seven West Indies players who will skip the trip to Sharjah are: vice-captain Rovman Powell, Kyle Mayers, Romario Shepherd, Hosein, Joseph, Holder, and Pooran.
In their places, Haynes called up seven players for the UAE trip including four uncapped players: left-handed batter Alick Athanaze and all-rounders Kavem Hodge, Dominic Drakes, and Akeem Jordan.
The other stand-in players for the UAE series are: Raymon Reifer, Odean Smith, and Devon Thomas.
“This presents a chance for some other players who are not in the squad for the qualifiers,” said Haynes, “to get an opportunity at the international level, as we look to expose more players.”
Jimmy Adams, CWI director of cricket, described the trip will be “good preparation” for the West Indies’ World Cup-bound players but also “valuable experience” to those who will not head on to Zimbabwe.
“It will also allow those players not going to Zimbabwe to get some valuable experience at the international level in foreign conditions, which would be hugely beneficial to their growth and development,” said Adams. “We are happy to work closely with the ECB to arrange the three matches and we see this as a partnership which can grow in the future.”
Haynes suggested that the West Indies players are in a good place at present.
“The team played well in South Africa earlier this year, when we drew the ODI Series 1-1 under the new captain,” he said. “We were encouraged by that display and we expect them to continue to grow and create that synergy.”
West Indies squad for UAE Series:
Shai Hope (captain), Brandon King (vice-captain), Alick Athanaze, Shamarh Brooks, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Dominic Drakes, Kavem Hodge, Akeem Jordan, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Raymon Reifer, Odean Smith, Devon Thomas.
West Indies squad for Cricket World Cup qualifiers:
Shai Hope (captain), Rovman Powell (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd.
Editor’s Note: The CWI has announced Daren Sammy as the new West Indies white-ball coach. Click HERE for details.