Despite their humiliating 319-run loss in the first Test against India in Antigua the CWI selectors made just one change to the West Indies squad for the second and final Test against India at Sabina Park, Jamaica which starts Friday and is scheduled to conclude next Tuesday.
Barbadian pacer Miguel Cummings, who surprisingly played in Antigua ahead of home boy Rahkeem Cornwall, arguable the best off-spinner in the Region, has been replaced by Guyanese Fast Bowling all-rounder Keemo Paul, back to full fitness after an ankle injury kept him out of the opening Test.
The selectors have also stuck with out of form Trinidadian, left hander Daren Bravo, whose Test return in Antigua was his first since the tour of the UAE in October 2016. Bravo made 18 and 2 in the first Test and his time away from Test cricket showed.
Shamarh Brook and John Campbell, who both made their debuts in Antigua, have both retained their positions despite the poor showing with the bat.
Twenty two-year-old Guyanese Shimron Hetmyer, who continues to frustrate his fans with his erratic shot selections and low scorers, will need to bat sensibly and get a big score as he too gets another chance to prove why he is widely regarded as the best young talent in the West Indies since the iconic Brian Lara.
Bajans Roston Chase and Shai Hope are the other specialist batsmen in the squad but both could be again asked to fulfill secondary roles as part-time off-spinner and Wicket-Keeper respectively.
While Keeper Jamal Hamilton continues to be in the squad ahead of Guyana’s Anthony Bramble who has the most dismissals in Regional First-Class cricket for last few seasons, asking Hope to Keep and bat at number 3 (where he should bat) would be hard for him especially if India gets a big score.
Jason Holder is the ICC’s top Test all-rounder and his contribution with both bat and ball has been impressive but he has struggled to lead a weak team which lacks the mental fortitude for the highest level.
Kemar Roach, one of six Bajans in the team, is the West Indies best bowler and is also capable of useful contributions with the bat as he did when he lifted West Indies from 50-9 to 100 all out in Antigua.
He will hope for pace support from Shannon Gabriel and the all-rounders Holder and Paul.
This is the second Test match in a series which marks the start of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) for both teams.
After a two-year period the two best teams will contest a final to be crowned Test Champions and the West Indies have an opportunity to claim 6o points for a win which will draw the series or pick up 20 points for a drawn match.
This Series is the first of six Test Series which West Indies will play during the two-year period.
Meanwhile, Guyanese born Radio cricket commentator Reds Perreira will do commentary in his 150th Test in this match, while during the Lunch break on the third day a Ceremony was be held by CWI to honour him for his outstanding services to Caribbean Cricket.
Reds, who lives in St Lucia, will be afforded return air tickets from St Lucia to Jamaica, accommodation at the Jamaica Pegasus and daily transportation from the Hotel to Sabina Park.
West Indies Team: Jason Holder (Captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach. (Sean Devers)
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