West Indies have recalled Chris Gayle for the the first two One-Day Internationals against England, it was announced on Thursday (February 7). Meanwhile the hard-hitting batsman Nicholas Pooran has also earned a maiden call-up to the 50-over squad after impressing one and all with his abilities in the shortest format of the game.
The side will be led by Jason Holder and looks a formidable unit with the likes of Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis and Kemar Roach in the mix.
Gayle, West Indies’ second-most capped player with 284 ODIs under his belt last played for them in a three-match ODI series against Bangladesh back in July 2018 at home. He returned with scores of 40, 29 and 73 in the three games but hasn’t played for the West Indies since.
However, with the World Cup just a few months down the line, the West Indies selectors have opted to bring Gayle into the side considering his vast experience. The Chairman of selectors Courtney Browne also further explained that Marlon Samuels was not considered for selection as he is undergoing treatment on his knees.
“As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top-ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team. This allows us to identify any areas that need addressing relating to selection and also helps the coaching staff to fine tune their game strategy,” Chairman of Selectors, Browne said.
“We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series’ and Ashley Nurse from injury."
Pooran has played eight Twenty20 Internationals for the West Indies, with his most notable performance coming against India in late 2018 where he smashed an unbeaten 53 in just 25 balls. The left-hander has an impressive List A record with 492 runs to his name from 18 games at an average of 35.14 which includes three half-centuries. His T20 record is even more staggering where he has slammed 1694 in 92 games striking at 144.91.
“We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI squad for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order," said Browne.
The Chairman of selectors also emphasised that pacer Shannon Gabriel was also very much in West Indies’ plans for the World Cup but he has been rested taking into consideration his heavy workload of late.
“Shannon Gabriel remains very much in our World Cup plans but with a heavy workload expected in the Test series he will be considered for selection later in the ODI series,” Browne remarked.
West Indies have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match Test series and will go into the final Test at St. Lucia with a 3-0 sweep in mind. The two teams will then travel to Jamaica where they will play the first ODI at the Kensington Oval on February 20.
West Indies squad for first two ODIs: Jason Holder (capt), Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas