Aug 13, 2008 Sports
By Sean Devers
Former Guyana and West Indies under-19 Captain Leon Johnson and Australian-born Jamaican Brendon Nash are the only new caps named in the West Indies squad to participate in the Tri-Nation one-day series in Canada next week and the ICC Champions trophy in Pakistan next month.
The only surviving member from the last West Indies selection panel, New Chairman and former Test off-spinner Clyde Butts, yesterday announced that Chris Gayle will lead a regional 14-man squad to Canada before doing the same, when number-one ranked Test batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul joins the squad in Pakistan for the Champions trophy which involves the world’s top eight One-Day teams.
Butts also disclosed that his panel, which includes new selectors Raphick Jumadeen and Robert Haynes with advice from Skipper Gayle and Coach John Dyson, recommended the 28-year-old Gayle for the position of Captain.
Gayle, who made his ODI debut in Toronto against India in 1999, endured patchy form recently and averages 38.84 from 184 ODIs. He wrote to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) last month to say he was no longer interested in leading the side.
However, the left-handed Jamaican, who has scored the only century in 20/20 Internationals, changed his mind about leading the team and informed the regional Board that he would again be available for the job.
Butts explained that the WICB has dealt with this issue and ratified Gayle as Captain.
Predictably, 28-year-old Ramnaresh Sarwan, who has the best ODI batting average (43.37) of all present West Indies batsmen, has been re-appointed Vice-Captain for the squad which is without leading all-rounder Dwayne Bravo who has to undergo surgery for an ankle injury.
Butts informed that Chanderpaul, who averages 40.49 from 235 ODI matches and who could again be the rock the batting will be built on in the Champions Trophy, will miss the Canada leg of the tour.
Chanderpaul, who turns 34 on Saturday, is fulfilling a contract with English county team Durhan and he has been allowed to stay on in England before traveling to Pakistan for the more important of the two tournaments which involves the world’s top eight One-Day teams.
Butts said that both Johnson and Nash have been rewarded for very good recent regional seasons while Carlton Baugh comes back into the side mainly for his batting ability in the One-day format.
Johnson, a 21-year-old left-hander who led the West Indies in the 2006 under-19 World Cup, scored 427 runs from six matches in the last Carib Beer series while Nash, who qualified to represent Jamaica because his father, a former Jamaican Olympic swimmer, was born there, made 305 runs in the last Carib Beer series.
Nash has played the majority of his 36 first class for Australian team Queensland while Johnson, who made his first class debut in 2003, has only played eight first-class games.
According to Butts, a few middle order batsmen have been tried in recent times and they have not produced as expected and it was decided to select one promising young batsman and Johnson got the nod.
He also explained that while the selectors feel that Denesh Ramdin is the best ‘Keeper in the region he has been short on runs and with the back-to-back one-day series coming up Baugh has been brought back.
Butts added that Patrick Browne was tried and has not made the type of runs expected and problems batting spin bowling also worked against him since a lot of spin is expected in Pakistan.
Back of the arm spinner Dave Mohamed comes back to add variety to the spin attack since Butts explained that while Sulieman Benn bowled fairly well in his four ODIs this year, he and Nikita Miller are similar bowlers and Miller looked the better of the two during the last home series.
Butts disclosed that he will face the media on a regular basis since in the past the selectors have been criticized for not being open to the public leading to lost of speculation.
He promised that his panel will be very open to the public and media and asked the fans to bear with them when they are not always on the ball, adding that there is a lot of pressure associated with being a West Indies selector.
“Although Robert (Haynes) and Raphick (Jumadeen) are new to the job they have been watching a lot of cricket and know the players. This could be a thankless job but it is a privilege being the Chairman and our aim is to try our best to find the players to help get West Indies cricket back to where it was once. This will not happen overnight but if we all work together and the players understand their roles we can do it,” Butts said.
In Canada, West Indies are scheduled to face Bermuda on August 20 in their opening match before facing the hosts two days later. The Final is set for August 25.
The West Indies, which last played an ODI match on July 6 when they lost to Australia in St Kitts, will oppose host Pakistan on September 12, India on September 18 and Australia on September 21 in their preliminary round group matches in the Champions Trophy and will hope to qualify for their third consecutive final in that competition.
Speaking at a press conference at the Guyana Cricket Board Secretariat at Bourda, the 51-year-old Butts who took 10 wickets from seven Tests between 1985 and 1988, explained that the new selectors along with Skipper Gayle and Coach John Dyson selected the two squads. It is understood that Haynes will travel to Canada but none of the selectors will be in Pakistan.
West Indies squad for Canada read:- Chris Gayle (Captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan (V/Capt), Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Xavier Marshall, Daren Powell, Shawn Findlay, Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards, Nikita Miller, Leon Johnson, Brendon Nash, Carlton Baugh, Kemar Roach, Dave Mohamed
Squad for ICC Champions trophy:-14-man squad for Canada plus Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
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