Sep 07, 2021 Sports
What will the selectors come up with?
By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News – The Cricket West Indies (CWI) selectors, led by former West Indies off-spinner Roger Harper will sit on Thursday to name the West Indies Squad to defend their T20 title at the 2021 World Cup in the UAE.
The defending Champions will face-off with England on October 23 in the opening game before battling South Africa on October 26.
West Indies won the title in 2012 and 2016 and are in the group with Australia, England and South Africa.
It is understood that the official squad is 15 players and seven staff. However, a party of 30 (including reserve players and staff) would be allowed but CWI would have to cover all cost of extra members of the party.
After T20 International series against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, the Regional Selectors picked an 18-man squad which comprised; Kieron Pollard, Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetymer, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Fidel Edwards, Dwayne Bravo, Obed McCoy, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jnr, Kevin Sinclair, Sheldon Cotterell, Akeil Hosein and Andre Fletcher.
Of these players, Pollard, Russell, Bravo, Pooran, Hetymer, Allen, Lewis and Hosien seem automatic selections, while performances in the ongoing CPL from players outside the provisional 18-man should be taken into account.
Barbadian all-rounder Roston Chase, Guyanese left-handers Sherfane Rutherford and Chanderpaul Hemraj, Trinidadian pacer Ravi Rampaul, Guyanese fast bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd and Antiguan Wicket-keeper/ Batsman Devon Thomas would have done enough during the first half of the CPL to stake a claim for a spot in the World Cup squad.
In six matches in the CPL Chase is the leading run-scorer with 248 runs at an average of 80.33 and a strike rate of 157.51. He has also been very effective with off-spin bowling.
Lewis, who will play in the IPL as a replacement player before the World Cup, is second in the runs aggregate with 236 runs, while Rutherford has three fifties in 201 runs and is the only other batsman with 200 runs.
Opener Hemraj is fourth among the run-scorers with 178 runs and is the one of two batsmen and the only West Indian with a century in the ninth edition of the CPL so far. In addition to scouring the most runs with boundaries; 19 fours and 10 sixes.
Thomas, who could bat in the middle order or ‘open’, is sixth in the runs aggregate and fifth among West Indians with 161 runs.
Ramphal is the leading wicket-taker with 15 wickets from 23.2 overs and a best of 4-29 and an economy rate of 7.15, while Shepherd is second on wicket-takers list with 11 scalps at an economy rate of 6.20 despite missing two games for the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
But who would they replace in the provisional squad is the big question?
Another big question is if Sunil Narine, the best West Indian spinner, would make himself available to play in an ICC tournament and run the risk of being banned from all forms of cricket (including the IPL) if he is called for a ‘suspect’ action.
Chris Gayle is another West Indian icon who could miss out due to the possibility of him failing to produce runs consistently at the World Cup due to age and declining technique, especially against quick short pitched bowling.
However, the selectors might be tempted to give the Jamaican who turns 42 on September 21, a farewell World Cup due to tremendous service to West Indies, not only in T20 cricket where he has dominated like no other in the World, but in all formats.
From the provisional squad I would replace Edwards, who has just three wickets at an economy rate of 11.06 in the CPL, with Ramphal and Barbados Royals Captain Holder, who has only managed three wickets at an economy rate 10.01 and scored 51 runs at an Average of 8.83 from six matches, with Shepherd.
Despite scoring 60 in his last innings, Simmons has looked lethargic and has managed just 46 runs from his other five innings at an average of 19.03 at a strike rate 110.53 and I would replace him with Hemraj.
Gayle, who is the only player to score more than 14,000 T20 runs and has a highest T20 score of 175 for RCB in the IPL, has just 71 runs from four games with a top score of 42 and a strike rate of 109.23 and I would replace him with Rutherford.
In six innings Fletcher has scored 145 runs including an unbeaten 81 and I would replace him with Thomas as back up Keeper to Pooran.
Thomas could also be a reserve batsman in the middle order or opening the batting while he can also bowl medium pacer and when not behind the stumps, is a brilliant fielder.
In addition to scoring the most runs so far, off-spinner Chase has six wickets from 20 overs at an economy rate 6.04 and I would replace off-spinner Kevin Sinclair who was on the bench for the first four games that the Warriors played, with Chase, who like Hemraj could provide spin options.
Although his standard is far from what he set in the recent T20 International series and has struggled for control in this CPL, a leg-spinner could be an asset in the UAE and I would include Hayden Walsh Jnr, who is among the best fielders in world, in the World Cup squad.
I would take the ‘Universe Boss’ to the World Cup as a batting mentor.
My World Cup squad: Evin Lewis, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicolas Pooran (V/Capt), Roston Chase, Sherfane Rutherford, Kieron Pollard (Capt), Fabian Allen, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Ravi Rampaul, Akeil Hosien, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jnr., Devon Thomas, Oshane Thomas, Obed McCoy.
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