St. John’s, Antigua, June 3 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Nine Barbadians are in a 14-man West Indies squad for the three-match Test series on the Sandals tour of England next month.
And there are four Bajans as well among 11 reserves named this morning by Cricket West Indies (CWI).
The nine are captain and fast bowling all-rounder Jason Holder, opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite, middle order batsmen Shai Hope, who is also a wicket-keeper, Shamarh Brooks and Roston Chase, who bowls off-spin, first choice wicket-keeper/batsman Shane Dowrich, fast bowlers Kemar Roach and the uncapped Chemar Holder and all-rounder Raymon Reifer, who bowls left-arm medium-pace.
Reifer represents Guyana Jaguars in regional first-class and one-day Championships.
The other members of the squad are Jamaican opener John Campbell, his compatriots, middle order batsmen Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner, who is yet to play at the Test level and the Antiguan pair of off-spinning all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall and fast bowler Alzarri Joseph.
The Barbadians in the reserves are opening batsman Shayne Moseley, middle order batting all-rounder Kyle Mayers, left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican and pacer Keon Harding. Only Warrican has played Test cricket.
Subject to the final approval of the UK Government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy in the series which is to be played behind closed doors, starting on July 8.
The touring party, who will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, are scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.
The West Indies squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety. The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.
Experienced Trinidadian batsman Darren Bravo and the Guyanese pair of batsman Shimron Hetmyer and pacer Keemo Paul all declined the invitation to travel to England for the tour.
CWI said it “fully respects their decision to choose to do so”.
“As previously stated, CWI will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection,” CWI said.
Chemar Holder, 22, was the leading fast bowler in the 2019-20 regional first-class Championship with 36 wickets at 18.91 each in eight matches as he helped spur Barbados Pride to the title in comprehensive style.
He was also a member of the successful West Indies Under-19 team at the ICC Youth World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016.
The 31-year-old Bonner was one of the leading batsmen in the last first-class Championship with 523 runs at an average of 58.11 in seven matches .
He has represented the West Indies in two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012.
“The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to,” said Roger Harper, the West Indies lead selector and former international off-spinning all-rounder.
“However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatized and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment. Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket.
“I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers. The experience of the players who toured England before in 2017 will also benefit the squad greatly. I expect that the bowling unit will once again provide a serious challenge for England and our batting will have to deliver. England is a tough team when playing in home conditions, however, I think the West Indies have a good chance of retaining the Wisden Trophy. We will have to bat consistently well to do so.”
Harper added: “Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic first-class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England. Nkrumah Bonner is an unflappable character. His ability to hold the innings together and bat through tight situations could serve the team very well. Jermaine Blackwood returns by sheer weight of performance in the domestic first-class season. His patience and application were evident and that resulted in much greater consistency, which I look forward to him taking back into the Test arena. His experience of playing Test cricket in England should stand him in good stead.
“Raymon Reifer has been around for a while and has proved to be a real competitor with both bat and ball – qualities that will add great value to the team.”
Veteran Trinidad & Tobago fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who is recovering from injury, is among the reserves. He is believed to be the 15th player to be added to the squad.
“Shannon Gabriel is working his way back to full match fitness after his ankle operation last year. The four weeks leading up to the first Test will be of tremendous benefit to him. A fully fit and firing Shannon adds great potency to the bowling attack, so it is important to have him back at his best,” Harper said.
West Indies are scheduled to arrive in Manchester on June 9 and will be based in Manchester for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. They will then return to Manchester for the second and third matches at Emirates Old Trafford. All these matches will be played behind closed doors and are still subject to UK Government approval.
Squad: Jason Holder (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.
Reserves: Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican.
PROPOSED MATCH SCHEDULE
July 8-12: 1st Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton
July 16-20: 2nd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
July 24-28: 3rd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester