Samuels returns for Zimbabwe Tests, Narine left out
Allrounder Marlon Samuels returns to the West Indies squad after a two-month injury break, having been picked for the first Test against Zimbabwe that begins on March 12. Offspinner Sunil Narine did not feature in the 13-man squad, and in his place Shane Shillingford came in.
Samuels had missed the limited-overs leg of the Zimbabwe series after picking up a facial injury during the Big Bash League, Australia's T20 competition, in January.
Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who debuted in the Lord's Test last year but was then sidelined by a stress reaction in his back, made a comeback. Two exclusions of note on the fast-bowling front included Ravi Rampaul and Fidel Edwards. Rampaul had returned to the domestic circuit in February after two months out due to knee trouble and had said at the time that he was "100% fit". Edwards had taken a match-haul of seven in his previous Test match - against Bangladesh in November. His last competitive match was on February 14, in the Bangladesh Premier League.
The other players to miss out from the squad that played the Bangladesh series, which was West Indies' previous Test assignment, include batsmen Kirk Edwards and Assad Fudadin.
Narine had had a poor run in that series, taking three wickets in two Tests at an average of 114.33. Twenty-three-year-old left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who had a relatively better series with eight wickets at 31.62, retained his place.
Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin kept his role as Test vice-captain, while Chris Gayle returned after asking to skip the limited-overs series against Zimbabwe. Experienced batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, who returned for West Indies on last month's limited-overs tour of Australia after a contentious 18-month break, was not handed a Test comeback.
West Indies and Zimbabwe will play two Tests in all, and the hosts' squad for the second Test will be named at a later date.