… Permaul, Reifer among Test selectees in Windies new-look squads
By Clifton Ross
GUYANA Jaguars left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul and all-rounder Raymon Reifer were among the faces in a somewhat new-look West Indies Test team who will be kicking 2021 off with a tour of Bangladesh. Yesterday, Cricket West Indies (CWI) named the Test and One-Day International (ODI) squads for the upcoming tour which features three ODIs and two Tests.
Permaul, the Caribbean’s most successful spinner with more than 500 first-class wickets, ironically made his international debut against the Bangladeshis way back in 2012 and played a few series before going back to his roots as a class act on the West Indies regional circuit.
Now with Windies core of players fresh off the England and New Zealand tours opting out of next month’s series due to COVID-19 related concerns, the Caribbean Boys will now field a different side with more youth impetus.
CWI’s COVID-19 policy allows any player to opt out of selection for an overseas tour, only when based on the player’s own safety fears or concerns, with those decisions not having any impact with regard to their consideration for future selection. Original Test skipper Jason Holder, T20 captain Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Test vice-captain Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran all elected to skip the Bangladesh series. The pair of all-rounder Fabian Allen and Test wicket-keeper/batsman Shane Dowrich also opted out but due to more personal reasons. Those missing stars have opened up a number of spots in both the Test and ODI teams. The Test unit will be led by an experienced head in opener Kraigg Brathwaite, who regains more responsibility than before after being relieved of his vice-captaincy duties to focus more on batting; ahead of the New Zealand series.
In-form batsman and Windies’ leading run-scorer for 2020, Jermaine Blackwood was named Test vice-captain. Joshua DaSilva, Rakeem Cornwall, John Campbell and other are among the familiar Test stars in the mix.
The ODI team also features a fresh lineup as former Trinidad & Tobago/West Indies A team captain, Jason Mohammed makes a return and will lead the team with Sunil Ambris as vice-captain.
Two rookie players have earned their maiden ODI call-up: Akeal Hosein, the left-arm spinning all-rounder and left-handed batsman Kjorn Ottley. Meanwhile, CWI chief selector Roger Harper backed the two squads and the selectees, both new and experienced. He added that a number of those selections were warranted by last season’s CWI Regional tournaments. “Kavem Hodge will be on his first tour with the team. He has been around for a few years and has made a case for himself and he now gets his chance. The fact that he also bowls left-arm spin has certainly helped his cause.” Harper explained. The CWI head selector continued, “We also have Kyle Mayers and Shayne Moseley, who have both toured with the team to England and New Zealand as reserves, being selected in the Test Squad for the first time. Moseley coming off successful ‘A Team’ games in New Zealand and Mayers who has performed well in each of the CWI regional tournaments and also the CPL, over the last year.” Harper stated.
Regarding the seasoned players choosing to stay away from the Bangladesh tour, Harper said he respected their decision, adding that it created a lot of big opportunities to see what the young core is made of. “The absence of several more experienced players has certainly provided an opportunity for the left-handed Kjorn Ottley who has had a good Super50 tournament last year. He will be very keen to make his mark. Tours of Bangladesh are never easy as they always play well in their own conditions.” he said.
“Although a number of the senior players are missing in both formats, I expect our teams to be very competitive. I expect our players to play with purpose, with passion and with the desire to prove that they belong at this level.” Harper ended.
Ideally, the three ODIs are the first matches in the West Indies ICC World Cup Super League campaign with the opportunity to qualify for the ICC World Cup 2023.
Meanwhile, the West Indies touring party is set to arrive in Dhaka on January 10 and the series will run until February 15.
West Indies Test Squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Raymon Reifer and Jomel Warrican
West Indies ODI Squad: Jason Mohammed (captain), Sunil Ambris (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Andre McCarthy, Kjorn Ottley, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd and Hayden Walsh Jr.