In his brief senior career to date, Shimron Hetmyer has demonstrated that he is a talented batsman. However, on paper his figures have not been flattering.

Nineteen-year-old Jayden Seales said he was pleasantly surprised when he received word that he had been called to be a reserve player for the West Indies for their upcoming three T20, two-Test tour of New Zealand.

Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard are to captain West Indies Test and T20 teams, respectively, while Shai Hope has been dropped for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis have declined invitations to the T20 squad that has been selected for the tour.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced a short while ago, the two squads for the proposed tour of New Zealand which will feature three T20 Internationals and two Test matches from November 27 to December 15.

Details of the tour were ratified by CWI’s Board of Directors during a teleconference on Thursday. The Board agreed to the tour in principle, subject to final details on medical and logistical protocols of CWI, New Zealand Cricket and Government of New Zealand.

Left-handed batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer have been recalled to the Test team, as well as all-rounder Keemo Paul. Bravo’s highest Test score of 218 came at the University Oval in Dunedin in 2013.

“The return of Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul will bolster the team, I expect that Darren will solidify the top-order, hopefully making it more productive, while Shimron gives the squad more options in the middle-order and it is another opportunity for him to show how good a player he is.  Keemo provides another wicket taking seam option,” said Chief Selector Roger Harper.

“The Test team has an opportunity to put into practice the learnings from the tour of England earlier this year.  The team has good all-round depth and I expect them be very competitive. New Zealand is a very good team especially in New Zealand, so we need to be on the top of our game.”

A group of reserves will also travel to help prepare the Test squad during the quarantine period and training camp as well as cover for injuries.

Meanwhile, Andre Fletcher, the experienced wicket-keeper/batsman has been named in the T20I squad for the first time since 2018. There is also a maiden call-up in this format for Kyle Mayers, the all-rounder, who performed well in last month’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

“Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell are two very experienced T20 players who performed very well on the last tour of Sri Lanka and their absence will surely be noted.  However, Andre Fletcher has another opportunity to show us what he can do and what he brings to the table,” Harper said.

“The T20I Team is now getting back into the groove after a nine-month absence from international competition. Fortunately, a number of players have been involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and before that the CPL, so they have had some competitive cricket leading up to this tour. The structure of the tour with the COVID-19 quarantine period, does not give the team any real opportunity for match practice as a team but there are a number of experienced players in the team so, hopefully, they can adapt quickly. 

“In the build-up to the ICC T20 World Cup, every T20I series is an important opportunity to fine tune the team, to get our personnel, our compositions and combinations right. For our players to become more attuned to their roles and the team to have a greater understanding of what works best in each situation. So, this is a very important series for us from that perspective and also in an effort to improve our rankings.”

The T20Is will be the start of an 11-month schedule of matches building up to the ICC T20 World Cup, rescheduled for October 2021 in India. The proposed schedule for this tour of New Zealand has the defending T20 World Cup champions starting at Eden Park in Auckland under lights.

The CWI Selection Panel indicated that this upcoming series will form part of the overall planning towards defending the ICC World T20 title. The panel outlined that they will continue to monitor closely the progress of spin bowler Sunil Narine and all other players in the lead-up to the global event.

 Test Squad:

Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul and Kemar Roach.

 Test Reserves:

Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua DaSilva, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, and Jayden Seales.

 T20 International Squad:

Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, and Kesrick Williams.

West Indies middle-order batsman Shai Hope insists players must be willing to put up their hands and be counted in order to be successful on the upcoming tour of England.

With the team missing two of its most explosive batsmen in Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo, runs could be hard to come by against a dangerous England bowling attack.  On his last visit to England, Hope certainly did stand up for the Windies team.  In the second Test, his two centuries proved crucial in a five-wicket win that saw the regional team level the series before going on to lose 2-1.

Although admitting the team will be missing the duo, Hope insisted the big match-winning performances needed were simply about the players' available accepting the challenge on any given day.

“It just happened to be my day at Headingley but it can be anyone else’s day on any given day.  The key is just to make sure that whenever you get an opportunity in the middle you grasp it and do whatever you can to put in those performances for the team," Hope told members of the media.

“It’s a case where the performances will matter.  Yes, we are going to miss those guys, they play a big role on the team.  But it’s more performances that we miss rather than players, they could be here and it just doesn’t go their way, that’s how cricket goes sometimes.  You always just need someone to put their hands up, I always stress that.  It’s just key for us that we as batters put those runs on the board.”

The West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy against England in three Test matches, beginning next month at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground.

 

Former Barbadian-born England fast bowler Gladstone Small admits he is thrilled by the prospect of seeing a well-rested Jofra Archer making life extremely uncomfortable for opposition batsmen when the West Indies come to town next month.

The West Indies and England are expected to mark a return to international cricket action, with a three-Test series, which will be held in the UK, in July.  Due to ongoing fears concerning the Coronavirus, the matches will be played without fans and in a sterile environment.  Small, insists, however, that he does not expect or want to see a competitively sterile series.

Archer, who is himself another Barbadian-born national turned Englishman and former West Indies youth representative, is expected to capture a good deal of the spotlight.  The bowler who began his career in promising fashion, took 22 wickets in his first four matches at an average of just over 20.  Some of his 95-per-hour thunderbolts, often had batsmen on the ropes, unsettling even the best of them.  During the Ashes, Archer delivered frightening deliveries that struck Australian batsman Steve Smith on the arm and then around the neck area before he could react to the ball.  The bowler has struggled to reproduce such form since and has been hampered by injury.  With the hiatus from sport granting him some recovery time and being recently declared fit for the series, Small is hoping to see that fire return.

“He had a great first year in the international game.  He came back from South Africa with an injury and didn’t play the last couple of Test matches.  Hopefully the time off has allowed his injuries to heal and he can come back charging and hitting guys on the helmet as he did in that series last summer,” Small told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

"I think the term fast bowler gets offered around loosely, especially in the modern game but this guy is genuinely quick and he makes it looks so easy...it’s good to see batsmen hopping around the crease."

Unheralded West Indies middle-order batsman Larry Gomes has rated his century against India at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago as his best.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) on the advice and agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has announced the postponement of the West Indies Men’s three-Test series against England in June, to a future date to be determined.

Veteran Windies batsman Chris Gayle has admitted he is not a fan of the proposed four-day Test cricket format, insisting that shortening the game would lessen some of its appeal.

Gayle, who has scored a total of 7214 runs in 104 Test matches, with a high score of 333, is no stranger to the format.  The player last set foot in the Test area six years ago but has not lost the affinity for the grueling nature of the longest format.

It is of little surprise that Gayle recently added his voice to the throng of players and former players that have come out strongly against the possibility of reducing five-day Test matches to four-dayers.  The topic is expected to be discussed by the ICC over the next few months.

“I am not a fan of that (four-day Tests). I played 100 Tests, I mean a few finished in three days, a few in four but five days Test cricket is the ultimate and to have a four-day Test…I am not a big fan of that,” Gayle said.

“It has set the trend and it’s been there for ages so why go and mess with that. If they give other players a chance to experience that, it can be a life-changing experience to play five-day cricket. It is a mental state so that you can cope in life as well,” said Gayle.

 Indian captain Virat Kohli, South African skipper Faf du Plessis, English captain Joe Root and Indian great Sachin Tendulkar are among the other players to have spoken out in opposition to the change.

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