Sunil Narine returns to international cricket next month after being named in the 15-man World Cup squad which includes five allrounders, seven specialist batsmen, four fast bowlers and two spinners.
Jason Holder, named captain for the South Africa ODI series, retains the position with Marlon Samuels as his deputy. As reported on Thursday, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have been left out by the Clive Lloyd-led selection panel.
Also making a comeback is Darren Bravo, who had opted out of the Test series for personal reasons and wasn’t part of the ODIs are scheduled to follow. Fast bowler Kemar Roach, who suffered an ankle injury in the Centurion Test and had to return home, finds a place in the 15 as well.
West Indies squad
Jason Holder (captain), Marlon Samuels, Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor
In: Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach
Out: Carlos Brathwaite, Narsingh Deonarine, Leon Johnson
“I believe we have selected a very good team which will do West Indies proud at the World Cup,” Lloyd said. “We have a good mixture of some good seasoned players and some good youngsters who will fly the West Indies flag in Australia and New Zealand.
“If they play to their potential I am quite sure we will do very well. I have really high hopes in this team – I believe they can do something special. We have the talent and if we can play to our potential we have a very good chance of lifting that trophy.”
But it is Narine’s return which will come as the greatest boost for West Indies. He has been a proven match-winner, and was ranked No. 2 on the ODI and T20 rankings when his action was reported as suspect in successive matches during the Champions League Twenty20 last September. Consequently, Narine missed out on playing in the final for Kolkata Knight Riders, who lost to Chennai Super Kings.
Although Narine’s citation in the CLT20 did not impact his chances of bowling in international cricket – he was only suspended from doing so in BCCI-organised tournaments – Lloyd had expressed annoyance at the scrutiny when West Indies arrived in India last October and withdrew Narine from that tour, which was cut short once the West Indies players pulled out after the fourth ODI owing to contractual disputes.
Narine was the second high-profile name after Pakistan off spinner Saeed Ajmal, who was reported during the Sri Lanka series last year and was unable to correct his action in time for the World Cup.
According to WICB, Narine had opted to rehabilitate himself and considering that has been picked, the selectors must be confident that he has made the necessary adjustments. It would be Narine’s first time at a World Cup as he made his ODI debut in December 2011.