Left-arm spinner Nikita Miller has been called-up to West Indies’ ODI squad for their three-match series against New Zealand later this month. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, who were part of West Indies’ ODI team against England in September, kept their places, while uncapped fast bowler Ronsford Beaton also earned a spot in the 15-man squad.
Miller, who has played 46 ODIs and 9 T20s, last played for West Indies in the 2015 World Cup, against Zimbabwe. In the 2016-17 Regional Super50 – West Indies’ domestic 50-overs tournament – Miller picked up nine wickets in nine games, at an average of 32, but also had an economy rate of 3.67.
Beaton, who was included in the West Indies A squad for a home series against Sri Lanka A, impressed in this year’s Caribbean Premier League, taking 11 wickets in 10 games.
Fast bowler Rayad Emrit earned a maiden call-up to a full-strength T20 squad that also included Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine. Samuel Badree, who was unavailable for West Indies’ previous T20 assignment in England, also made a return.
Emrit finished the 2017 Caribbean Premier League as the third-highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets in 12 matches, at an average of 21.20.
Wicketkeepers Andre Fletcher and Chadwick Walton were also rewarded for a stellar CPL 2017. Walton was the highest-run scorer in the tournament with 458 runs in 12 games at an average of 41.63 and a strike rate of 145.85, while Fletcher managed 286 runs in 10 matches.
Courtney Browne, Cricket West Indies’ selection chairman, said Miller’s inclusion was done with one eye on preparing an experienced team for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in March next year.
“Miller has played ODI cricket previously. Along with his vast experience in our domestic competitions, we felt that he is the right fit to form a part of our ODI bowling unit at this time,” Browne said. “With the World Cup qualifiers fast approaching, we felt that this is not the right time to introduce an inexperienced slow bowler. This series against New Zealand and our CWI Regional Super50 Cup next year are the only chances we will have for preparation prior to the World Cup qualifiers, which are scheduled to be played next March in Zimbabwe.
“So these matches will be used to help us identify the players that will play during the qualifiers, and this is why we have also taken the opportunity to introduce Ronsford Beaton. Though, he is more known for his pace and variations in T20I cricket, we believe he can add value within our ODI bowling unit.”
Emrit, Browne said, was picked to fill in an allrounder’s slot in the T20I side. “The selection of Emrit is to fill one of the all-rounder roles. He has always been on the fringes of selection and now gets his opportunity. He is a whole-hearted player, and has been a consistent performer in our domestic competitions and so the opportunity has now presented itself for him to join our T20I squad.”
West Indies’ limited-overs leg of the New Zealand tour begins on December 20, with the first ODI in Nelson. The T20s will begin from December 29.
ODI squad: Jason Holder (capt.), Jason Mohammed, Sunil Ambris, Ronsford Beaton, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams
T20 squad: Carlos Brathwaite (capt.), Samuel Badree, Ronsford Beaton, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams