Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, and Oshane Thomas have been included in the West Indies T20I squad for the upcoming five-match series against India.
The team management aims to find the “right combinations” in preparation for the 2024 T20 World Cup, which will be hosted in the Caribbean and the USA.
The selectors have excluded Shamarh Brooks, Raymon Reifer, Yannic Cariah, and Sheldon Cottrell from the West Indies’ last T20I squad.
This squad emerged victorious with a March 2-1 win in South Africa. During a press conference, lead selector Desmond Haynes mentioned that Cariah and Cottrell were considered during their discussions.
However, they ultimately decided to prioritize Thomas’ fast pace and were satisfied with having only two spinners, Roston Chase and Akeal Hosein, in the squad.
Haynes also emphasized the importance of the ground staff in the Caribbean preparing pitches that offer more assistance to fast bowlers in future T20Is.
This would give West Indies a home advantage over teams like India and Bangladesh in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
The initial 15-man squad, which will participate in all five matches scheduled from August 3 to 13, will be reduced to a team of 13 for each game. From this reduced squad, a final XI will be selected.
Haynes explained that Thomas and Hope were included because they possess a unique X-factor. Regarding Oshane, we have high expectations for his ability to make a significant impact with his speed. As you may be aware, Oshane spent considerable time in the wilderness.
However, he has since returned and has been diligently working. He appeared to be highly motivated and determined to regain his peak physical condition and bowl at a fast pace once more. We must identify talented fast bowlers in the Caribbean.
Oshane’s recent performance is a promising start. I am optimistic about assembling a strong group of six or seven fast bowlers for the upcoming Test series in Australia in January 2024.
Shai is performing exceptionally well in batting, to the extent that he can participate in all three West Indies competitions.
The squad has been chosen with the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as the primary focus. We are currently exploring different plans in our search for optimal combinations.
As we prepare, we are focused on constructing a unit capable of successfully hosting the global event in less than a year.
We have a strong line-up with players who can win matches. We are focused on preparing effectively, beginning with Thursday’s upcoming game in Trinidad.
Haynes mentioned that other players might be considered in the future, depending on their performances in the CPL, which begins on August 17.
Hetmyer’s most recent T20I appearance was in August of last year. He was excluded from the ODI World Cup qualifier in June but returned to the ODI team.
Due to concerns regarding his form and fitness, he had previously been banned from the white-ball team. Hetmyer, who played for the Seattle Orcas, was a crucial player in the USA’s inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC). He participated in two T20 matches and showcased his skills.
Additionally, this year, he had an impressive performance for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
Throughout the tournament, he scored 299 runs with a remarkable strike rate of 151.77. Furthermore, he maintained a solid average of 37.37.
Hope, the West Indies ODI captain and a star batter in the format returned after a year-long absence.
His last T20I match was played in February 2022 in India. He has participated in just 19 T20Is, maintaining a strike rate of 121.11, but unfortunately, his average is a disappointing 17.88.
He played his last T20 match in the previous PSL season for the Lahore Qalandars, who emerged as the champions.
Thomas had the most extended absence among the returnees. He had been excluded from the T20I squad since December 2021.
Additionally, it should be noted that he has yet to participate in any cricket matches since December 2022.
His last appearance was in the Lanka Premier League, where he played for the Kandy Falcons. He was included in the ODI squad against India but did not participate in the first two games.
When asked about the squad’s spin options, Haynes explained that they did not include a leg break-googly bowler for these games.
We are currently searching for the perfect combination, as we want to ensure that our T20 team is highly competitive.
As we participate in the T20 World Cup on our home turf, our primary goal is to be highly competitive.
Akeal Hosein has been performing exceptionally well for us in the T20 games. Similarly, Roston Chase has also shown excellent performance.
Considering this, we have decided to opt for the off-spin option and include Akeal in the team this time.
We are currently content with our approach, but for T20 matches, we have decided to seek a combination that incorporates some pace.
Aside from Alzarri Joseph, our team only has a few fast bowlers. Therefore, we decided to allow Oshane to showcase his skills as well.
We have Obed [McCoy], skilled at swinging the new ball and has a wide range of bowling variations.
The upcoming series of five T20Is against India will be held in the Caribbean and the USA. The series will commence in Tarouba on August 3, followed by two games hosted by Providence on August 6 and 8. Subsequently, the teams will travel to Lauderhill, Florida, for the final two games on August 12 and 13.
The West Indies squad for the T20I series against India includes the following players: Rovman Powell as captain, Kyle Mayers as vice-captain, Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Obed McCoy, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, and Oshane Thomas.