WINDIES v India: T20 series preview

Fri, Aug 2, '19

by KRISSANIA YOUNG

India

Away with one World Cup and on to preparations for another. With the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be hosted by Australia in autumn of next year, preparations for the teams involved are currently under way. The West Indies now has a chance to do one better than they did with preparations for the 2019 50-over World Cup, for which they were massively underprepared. The Caribbean side will battle India in a three-match T20 series, which will see the teams in action in Florida, twice over the weekend, drawing curtains in Guyana on Tuesday. Cricket West Indies has named the following 14-man squad for the first two games of the series: John Campbell, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Carlos Brathwaite (c), Keemo Paul, Sunil Narine, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Anthony Bramble, Jason Mohammed (replacing Andre Russell), Khary Pierre.

The squad sees a resumption of normalcy in WINDIES T20 set-up, following the use of the previous series (versus England) as preparation for the ICC Cricket World Cup. Therefore, Carlos Brathwaite reassumes his role as captain. The squad also includes Guyanese, Anthony Bramble, a return to international cricket for the first time since September of 2017 for spinner, Sunil Narine, as well as the reemergence of Rovman Powell. Keemo Paul, the hero in West Indies’ last T20 series win, returns after his World Cup snub. There was, however, no place in the squad for Sherfane Rutherford, even after the injury to Andre Russell.

With Chris Gayle unavailable for T20 selection and Dwayne Bravo being unavailable for international limited overs selection for the remainder of the year, the likes of Darren Bravo, Shai Hope and Jason Holder—two of which are not mainstays in West Indies T20 squads—are still said to be ‘resting’. Though, that ‘Rest’ list warranted an addition—the young man who has featured (not including the Ireland Tri-series for which he was unavailable) in forty-two (42) of the forty-five (45) games the West Indies has contested across formats, since July 12 2018—Shimron Hetmyer.

The Caribbean side’s last visit to Florida, for the shortest format, saw them surrendering a series lead, suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh. However, with Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine bolstering the team, Caribbean fans will be expecting a better showing.

The inclusion of Jason Mohammed does give the West Indies an additional option of a specialist batsman, a department in which WINDIES seemed short-staffed when the original squad was announced. Even considering the availability of Mohammed, a lot will rest on the shoulders of Evin Lewis. The left-hander will be the senior man in this WINDIES batting line-up, which includes Lewis himself, Campbell, Hetmyer, Pooran, Mohammed and Bramble. While, the option of Narine and Paul balances WINDIES’ bowling attack with the likes of Thomas, Cottrell and Brathwaite to partner.

Lauderhill has been known to produce high-scoring games both in the Caribbean Premier League and T20Is. The three completed T20Is at the ground, since 2016, have produced an average first innings total of 200, with the team batting first having a 100% win record.

The first T20I gets under way on Saturday, August 3rd at 10:30 am ECT (9:30 am Jamaica time).

Predicted XI: John Campbell, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Keiron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite (c), Sunil Narine, Keemo Paul, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.