Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan dropped
West Indies have left out Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, their three senior-most players, from the squad for the first two ODIs of the five-match series against Pakistan that begins on April 21. Dwayne Bravo, whose World Cup was cut short by a knee injury, returns to the squad and will serve as captain Darren Sammy's deputy, while Antigua-born legspinner Anthony Martin remains the only uncapped player in the list of 13.
Kieron Pollard will miss the five-match series to play for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, while Bravo, who, like Pollard, had opted out of a retainer contract with the West Indies Cricket Board, will skip the two-match Test series that follows the ODIs to join Chennai Super Kings.
The exclusion of Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan following West Indies' quarter-final exit from the World Cup marks a significant step and underlines the selectors' intention to move on and start afresh with an emphasis on youth. "Consistent with the policy to expose young players, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan were not selected," a West Indies Cricket Board release stated.
West Indies also left out left-arm spinners Sulieman Benn and Nikita Miller; Legspinners Devendra Bishoo - who picked up three wickets on his international debut against England in Chennai in the World Cup - and Martin, along with Marlon Samuels, will comprise the spin attack. In the previous edition of the WICB Regional 50-over tournament, Martin picked up eight wickets for Leeward Islands from five games and had the best economy rate of 2.82 an over. He finished with 16 wickets in six games in the Caribbean's domestic first-class competition.
Samuels, who is also part of the squad for the one-off Twenty20 international against Pakistan, won a recall after serving a two-year ban for alleged involvement with illegal bookmakers. Lendl Simmons, the Trinidad and Tobago batsman - and nephew of Phil Simmons - was also picked while batsman Kirk Edwards and allrounder Andre Russell, who were part of the World Cup squad, kept their places.
"We have looked at a mix of players who will take us through the next five to ten years, and with this squad we have put together a youthful but exciting combination of exceptionally talented cricketers who we believe can win matches," WICB chairman of selectors Clyde Butts said.
"There are some familiar faces who have not been included on this occasion, but we have already identified the core of players who we will build the team around. The time has come for us to introduce a fresh crop of players who we believe have a deep desire to excel and who can be tested at the international level."
In another decision, the WICB agreed to consider Bravo and Pollard for selection across all formats even if their IPL commitments meant they would miss national duty. The board had adopted a policy of tying national selection to participation in regional tournaments in the corresponding format - the reason behind Pollard and Bravo not being picked for the Twenty20 game against Pakistan.
"It was mutually determined that Pollard would be best served by being allowed to hone his T20 skills in the Indian Premier League, which will bring future benefit to West Indies cricket," the release stated. "He will not play in the series against Pakistan, but remains committed to West Indies cricket and will be available for future selection to the West Indies team in all formats."
About Bravo, the release said: "Dwayne Bravo, who is also contracted to an IPL franchise, will play in the one-day series against Pakistan but will miss the two Tests in order to participate in the IPL. Like Pollard, Bravo also remains committed to West Indies cricket and will be available for future selection to the West Indies team in all formats."
Squad for first two ODIs: Darren Sammy (capt), Dwayne Bravo (vice-captain), Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Anthony Martin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach , Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Devon Smith, Devon Thomas (wk).