Samuels returns in new-look squad
West Indies have announced a new-look squad for their one-off Twenty20 international against Pakistan in St Lucia on April 21, featuring four new caps and recalls for Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels, who is once again eligible for selection after serving a two-year ban for his alleged involvement with illegal bookmakers.
The match will be West Indies' first since Pakistan eliminated them at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup, and true to the intentions of their coach, Ottis Gibson, the team is the first step towards a new era for Caribbean cricket, as it features few of the elder statesmen who were sent packing from the tournament with a humiliating ten-wicket defeat in Dhaka.
Though Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard are not eligible for selection because they did not play in the Caribbean T20 earlier this year, there is no place either for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan or Sulieman Benn. Darren Sammy retains his place as captain, with Devendra Bishoo and Andre Russell, two young players who made good impressions at the World Cup, both included.
The uncapped inclusions are Danza Hyatt, a powerful Jamaican right-hander; Christopher Barnwell, an allrounder from Guyana; Ashley Nurse, an offspinner from Barbados, and left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie, also from Jamaica. Simmons, the nephew of the Ireland coach, Phil, is back in the squad for the first time since the tour of Australia in 2010.
Clyde Butts, the chairman of selectors, said: "The squad includes players who have performed well in the Caribbean T20. We are looking to expose players as he build towards the next ICC World T20 Tournament next year. Samuels and Simmons have both played at this level before and performed consistently in the Caribbean T20. We believe they will be key members of this team.
"Hyatt, Santokie and Nurse played in the West Indies A Team against Pakistan A and they did well. We have decided to give them the opportunity in the senior West Indies team and we believe they will make the transition to the higher level. Barnwell also did well in the Caribbean T20 and he also had exposure for Guyana in the Champions League last year. He is a lively and enthusiastic cricketer and we expect good things from him as well.
"Hyatt is a hard-hitting batsman who has demonstrated his ability to be a match-winner when he played against Pakistan A. Santokie has been exceptional in the Caribbean T20 using the new ball for Jamaica. Nurse is a clever bowler, a hard worker and has the ability to make vital runs in the lower order as well."
Samuels last played for West Indies in April 2008 before his career ran into a road-block after he received a two-year ban from official cricket for links with an Indian book-maker. Having served the ban, Samuels was offered a place in the West Indies World Cup squad, but declined it on the grounds that he was "not 100% ready" for one-day cricket. This time, however, he was pleased to be selected.
"I'm a batsman that can turn it up and turn it down, and at this moment, it's definitely a wonderful feeling heading back to putting on the maroon colours and wearing the coconut on my chest," Samuels was quoted in WI Cricnews. "I'm looking forward to turning it up again in Twenty20 and turning it back down in 50-overs cricket, and maybe Test cricket to come. I've put in a lot of work and I'm just reaping the rewards at the moment and it's definitely for me to continue."
West Indies squad Darren Sammy (capt), Christopher Barnwell, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Andre Fletcher, Danza Hyatt, Ashley Nurse, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons.