ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Left-handed opener Kieran Powell is among five current
Test players named in a strong 13-man West Indies A squad to face England
Lions in the three-match four-day “Test” series starting next week Sunday.
The 27-year-old Powell, who has played 31 Tests, will skipper a side that includes
batsman Jermaine Blackwood, wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, all-rounder Raymon
Reifer and fast bowler Miguel Cummins.
Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican, who played the last of his four Tests two years
ago, has also been named in the unit for the February 11 to March 1 series, which
also includes three one-dayers.
Chief selector Courtney Browne said with the Sri Lanka Test series already on the
radar, it was important to afford several players the opportunity to prepare
themselves for the upcoming assignment as well as enhance their chances of
“With a strong England Lions team touring the Caribbean, the selection panel felt
that it was a good opportunity to strengthen the A team with some of our Test
players who will not have the opportunity to play any first-class cricket ahead of
the Sri Lanka series,” Browne said.
“This series also provides some of the incumbent Test players the opportunity to
restate a claim for a position in the Test match squad for the what will be two
important home series (vs Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in June and July).”
Powell, despite his experience, only returned to international cricket last year
following a three-year self-imposed break, and has yet to really impress with a
mere two half-centuries in 19 Test innings.
Likewise, Blackwood, a virtual fixture in the Test side in recent years, has
struggled to get among the runs. He has a single hundred in 27 Tests and 15 runs
in his last five innings.
Dowrich, too, has failed to tie down his spot and with veteran Denesh Ramdin
having scored nearly 800 runs in the recent first class season, the Lions series will
hand the Barbadian the opportunity to re-establish himself.
Meanwhile, Shamarh Brooks, who has captained Windies A in recent years but will
serve as vice-captain of the side, will look to back up the 632 runs he compiled
during the recent first class season.
He struggled for form in a similar three-match series against Sri Lanka A last
October with just 93 runs in five innings and at age 29, this year could be vital for
the Barbadian right-hander.
Brooks, along with the quartet of Vishaul Singh, John Campbell, Jahmar Hamilton
and Keon Joseph, all featured against Sri Lanka A last year while Leeward Islands
Hurricanes seamer Jeremiah Louis has gained favour with selectors for the first
Browne urged these fringe players to use the chance to force themselves into the
selection frame for the upcoming Tests.
“The team also includes several players who have been part of the ‘A’ Team
program before and we believe their focus should be on performances that will
elevate them to the senior team,” Browne said.
“We originally included Sherman Lewis, an exciting young fast bowler, but he had
to withdraw due to injury. His replacement is Jeremiah Louis, a talented swing
bowler, who did really well during the PCL four-day season.
“He is also a capable batsman and will fit well into this set-up.”
The opening Test will be played at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, with the
second game scheduled for Sabina Park starting February 18.
Cricket West Indies also announced Sunday that the third game, beginning
February 26 at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, will be played under lights.
The 50-overs squad will be announced at a later date.
SQUAD – Kieran Powell (captain), Shamarh Brooks (vice captain), Jermaine
Blackwood, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich,
Jahmar Hamilton, Keon Joseph, Jeremiah Louis, Raymon Reifer, Vishaul Singh,
Jomel Warrican. – CMC