Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis back in West Indies’ ODI squad


KINGSTOWN: Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis are back in West Indies’ squad for the first two ODIs against England.

Gayle last played for West Indies during the home ODI series against Bangladesh in July 2018 and had made himself unavailable for the tours of India and Bangladesh over the 2018-19 winter in order to play the Afghanistan Premier League and the T10 League. Lewis had withdrawn from the India tour for personal reasons, and missed the ODIs in Bangladesh as well, but returned to the squad for the T20Is.

Nicholas Pooran, meanwhile, has been called up to the ODI squad for the first time. The left-hand batsman has impressed with his shotmaking ability in the eight T20Is he has played so far, most notably while cracking an unbeaten 53 off 25 balls against India in November.

West Indies’ 14-member squad for the first two England ODIs features a number of other changes too. Captain Jason Holder is back, as expected, having made a successful return to the Test side after missing the Bangladesh tour with a shoulder injury. The offspinner Ashley Nurse returns too, having made a comeback to domestic first-class cricket after injuring his shoulder on the India tour.

Batsmen Marlon Samuels, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Kieran Powell and Sunil Ambris, and allrounders Roston Chase and Carlos Brathwaite, who were all part of the ODI squad in Bangladesh, have been left out.

Samuels, according to the chairman of selectors Courtney Browne, is undergoing treatment on a knee injury. He also suggested that the fast bowler Shannon Gabriel could feature in the latter part of the series.

“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,” Browne said. “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.

“We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI cricket for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order. 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.”

The ODI series against England begins on February 20 at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.