Windies remaining focused despite Hetmyer controversy
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Captain and wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran going through his paces in the nets ahead of Wednesday’s opening T20 International. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)
Captain and wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran going through his paces in the nets ahead of Wednesday’s opening T20 International. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)

GOLD COAST, Australia, (CMC) – Captain Nicholas Pooran said Tuesday West Indies had pushed the controversial omission of Shimron Hetmyer to a side, in order to focus on the two-match Twenty20 International series against World champions Australia and their preparation for the T20 World Cup later this month.

The left-handed Hetmyer was picked in the original 15-man squad but missed a rescheduled flight out of his homeland Guyana for New York on Monday and was replaced by strokemaker Shamarh Brooks.

Hetmyer had already asked Cricket West Indies to change his departure date from last Saturday until Monday due to “family reasons.”

“To be honest, that’s not my focus at the moment,” Pooran told a media conference here when asked about the shock development.

Captain and wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran going through his paces in the nets ahead of Wednesday’s opening T20 International. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)

“A decision has been made; there are consequences for your actions. At the moment, I just want to focus on why we’re here and how we’re going to achieve our goals.

“We planned with him but unfortunately he’s not here and we have to plan differently now.”

The 25-year-old Hetmyer, an attack-minded player, was expected to be one of the planks of West Indies’ batting in the upcoming October 16 to November 13 World Cup.

He had only just returned to international cricket last July following a ninth-month break due to personal and fitness issues.

Pooran said he expected Hetmyer’s replacement Brooks to stack up nicely, especially since his recent form in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League.

“He’s definitely an experienced cricketer. He has been in our white-ball setup for the last year. He has been doing fantastic,” Pooran explained.

“He had a really good CPL as well coming off that century. Obviously he’s replacing Hetmyer and he has a vital role to play for us as well.”

West Indies take on Australia in the first game of a two-match series at Metricon stadium, which bowls off Wednesday at 7:10 pm (4:10 am Eastern Caribbean time).

The series will serve as enhanced preparation for West Indies’ World Cup campaign which will see them navigating a potentially tricky qualifier in order to reach the main draw of the tournament.

Pooran said his side were under no illusions about what was required as they chased qualification for the first round.

“Our main focus is the World Cup qualifiers first but in saying that we have an opportunity to play against Australia,” the left-hander said.

“We need to be smart as well. Our number one priority is obviously getting ready for [those] qualifiers. In saying that, in these games here we want to win but we need to be smart as well because we need our players fresh and ready for when those qualifiers start.”

SQUAD – Nicholas Pooran (captain), Rovman Powell, Shamarh Brooks, Yannic Cariah, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Kyle Mayers, Obed Mccoy, Raymon Reifer, Odean Smith.

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