It may come as a bit of s surprise to some, but West Indies have decided to drop all-rounder Roston Chase and batter Shai Hope ahead of the first Test against England, which begins next month. There is, however, a recall to the squad for John Campbell.
Shannon Gabriel’s hamstring injury has presented an opportunity for Anderson Phillip to join up with the 13-man strong squad. He’s uncapped at present. Sitting on the sidelines alongside Gabriel will be the trio of Rahkeem Cornwall, Jeremy Solozano and Jomel Warrican.
Heading into the three matches against England, West Indies lead selector and their former opening batsman believes they will be “very competitive” against the Three Lions. And, with the squad more balanced in terms of experience and youth, he suggests that it “should be a very exciting series, with a lot of players who are out to make their mark.”
CWI President’s XI vs England – Antigua – 1-4 March
1st Test – Antigua – 8-12 March
2nd Test – Barbados – 16-20 March
3rd Test – Granada – 24-28 March
Kraigg Brathwaite will skipper West Indies through the three matches, with the inaugural Richards-Botham Trophy on the line. 2020 saw England reclaim the prestigious Wisden Trophy after winning the Series 2-1. But, it was at this point the Widen Trophy was shelved in favour of going with the Richards-Botham Trophy, which pays homage to Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham.
It will be a tough ask for England, who haven't recorded a victory on West Indies soil since 2004. Last month, the Windies triumphed over England in the T20 3-2 before losing three consecutive ODIs and then three T20s against India.
Campbell, who has been out of the picture since April of last year, smashed 127 for Jamaica, and this is said to be one of the reasons for his recall to the squad. And, it’s fair to say that Hope being dropped will have shocked nobody after an average of just over 25 runs in his last 38 outings. It seems a long time ago since he became the first-ever player to secure centuries in a first-class match at Headingly.
Chase, another to miss out, is also out of form, and it’s arguably the correct decision. While he was involved in the side that thrashed England by 381 runs back in 2019, it’s his recent work that has come under the microscope. He’s not been anywhere near the levels he can hit since the West Indies 2020 tour of England, only passing the half-century mark on one occasion.
The warm-up game ahead of the tournament will see wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, skipper a President's XI in Antigua. The action is scheduled to get underway on March 1 at Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Squad in full: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood (vc), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Joshua da Silva (wkt), Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Anderson Phillip, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales.