After loads of speculations, Windies have finally announced their 15-man preliminary squad for the upcoming 2019 World Cup. The all-important 50-overs quadrennial event will be kicking off with the opening game between hosts England and South Africa scheduled on May 30 in London. While, the two-time champions would be starting their mega event journey against Pakistan on May 31 in Nottingham.
Russell makes dream comeback; Pollard and Narine miss out
The biggest headlining point from the squad announcement is the inclusion of big-hitting all-rounder, Andre Russell. He has been in a scintillating form for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the ongoing 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Russell has so far smashed 392 runs in nine matches at a thunderous strike-rate of 218.
"I spoke to Andre a few days ago. He has a few niggles. He has some pain behind his knee but he assured the selection panel that he'll be okay for the World Cup," said Robert Haynes, the interim chairman of CWI.
"He's scored a lot of runs and we'll be using him as a batting all-rounder. He's doing very well in the IPL. We have got to manage his injuries and have three to four days rest between the games," quoted interim head coach Floyd Reifer.
With Russell making a dream comeback, his IPL mates in Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine failed to make the cut. Narine missed out due to finger injury, while Pollard remains to be out of the reckoning.
"We had a lot of dialogue with Sunil Narine. He assured that he would have loved to play in the World Cup but unfortunately, he has an injured finger. He's getting treatment after every game in IPL and he's not capable at the moment to bowl 10 overs. He's struggling to bowl even four overs in the IPL," Haynes added.
However, the national selectors have covered most of the bases while picking the World Cup squad. The explosive duo comprising of Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis are the two openers. The middle-order also looks pretty solid with the inclusions of Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran. Carlos Brathwaite, Fabien Allen and Ashley Nurse are the all-rounders.
Windies skipper Jason Holder will lead the fast bowling attack which includes Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell and Shannon Gabriel. Nurse and Allen are the two spin bowling options in the West Indies World Cup squad. This 15-member squad will be playing an ODI tri-series in Ireland, which will also involve Bangladesh before the start of the 2019 World Cup.
West Indies 15-member squad for the 2019 World Cup
Jason Holder (c), Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer.