While emphasising that they had not abandoned their policy of rebuilding, the West Indies cricket selectors yesterday included two almost forgotten over-30s in a 22-man training squad in preparation for the home series against India.
Junior Murray, the 34-year-old Grenadian wicket-keeper/batsman, and Stuart Williams, the 32-year-old Nevisian opening batsmen, both of whom last played Test cricket on the 1998-99 tour of South Africa, were called up on the strength of outstanding performances in the current Busta Series.
The rebuilding process doesn't mean that you go all youth. You pick a team that you think has balance, chief selector Mike Findlay told NATIONSPORT last night.
Anybody who played in the Busta championship is eligible for selection to the West Indies team. They [Murray and Williams] performed well and their performances warranted selection.
Williams, whose previous 28 Tests yielded modest returns (1 092 runs, ave. 24.26), has been in rich form this season, reeling off 722 runs at an average of 72.20.
Murray, who played in 31 Tests and 55 One-Day Internationals, has become only the third player to score four centuries in a regional first-class tournament on the way to 642 runs (ave. 53.50).
Findlay, however, pointed out that the pair's inclusion did not signal a departure from the selectors' goal of looking to the future.
There are a few players there, who, although they are not youngsters, given the standard of West Indies' cricket, their performances in this series have been outstanding, he said.
The camp, which runs from March 21 to 28, comes ahead of a series of five Tests, which starts in Guyana on April 11.
The 22 include four players without international experience.
Left-handed Grenadian opener Devon Smith is called up after making a season-high total of 750 runs, while Jamaican Gareth Breese is rewarded for a consistent season in which his right-handed batting brought him 360 runs (ave. 45.00) and his improving off-breaks 35 wickets.
Jamaican Darrell Powell and Adam Sanford of the Leeward Islands, two fast bowlers in their first season of regional cricket, have also been summoned. Powell, long identified by Andy Roberts as one of immense potential, claimed 23 scalps, while the Dominica-born Sanford took 37.
Two notable casualties from the recent tour of Sharjah are former vice-captain Sherwin Campbell and fast bowler Corey Collymore.
We don't think they warranted selection on this squad, based on the performances of those who are selected, Findlay said.