Sports

King, Walsh set for Windies debut

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Stroke-maker Brandon King and leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr are poised to make their international debuts for West Indies after being named in both limited overs squads to face Afghanistan next month; but no room has been found for either Darren Bravo or former Twenty20 skipper Carlos Brathwaite.

The 24-year-old King has been included on the back of heavy scoring in the just-concluded Caribbean Premier League and the last regional first class season. He is set to feature at the highest level in the November 5 to December 1 series in India, which also includes a one-off Test.

He will be joined by the 27-year-old Walsh, who has already played an ODI and eight T20 Internationals for the United States, but was born in the US Virgin Islands and has represented Leeward Islands in the past.

Walsh, whose late father Hayden Sr played first class cricket for Leewards, grabbed the attention of selectors during the recent CPL with 22 wickets for eventual champions Barbados Tridents, to be adjudged Man of the Series.

Newly appointed chief selector, Roger Harper said he expected Walsh to add a vital wicket-taking element to the West Indies attack.

“During the CPL he would have excited everyone with his performance, and I think when you look at the direction that limited overs cricket…has gone, we need to have bowlers capable of taking wickets,” Harper told a media conference here yesterday.

“And Walsh has proved that he is a wicket-taker and I think he will have a great impact in the team going forward. That's why we included him…so that in our middle overs we're just not drifting through, we're still able to take wickets and keep control of the game.”

The right-handed King, meanwhile, shot to prominence in the recent CPL where he emerged as the tournament's leading scorer with 496 runs at an average of 55 for losing finalists Guyana Amazon Warriors.

The Jamaican also averages 35 in first class cricket and also topped the aggregates for his native Scorpions in the last four-day season, with 630 runs at an average of 48.

Harper said his performances had “demanded” his selection.

“He had an outstanding season. He made runs in the domestic four-day competition, following it up with an outstanding CPL competition and he just demanded a place in the team, and I think due to his performance he has been rewarded with that,” said the former Windies off-spinner and head coach.

“We were impressed not only with his stroke play but the maturity we have seen. We've seen him grow in the very recent past and I think he deserves his place.”

However, there was no such fortune for Bravo who has struggled ever since returning to the West Indies set-up 12 months ago, following a two-year break due to a well-publicised squabble with former Cricket West Indies President Dave Cameron.

The 30-year-old left-hander, who was handed an all-formats retainer contract only last July, has averaged 13 from his five Tests, 22 from 16 ODIs, and 17 from eight T20s, and also failed to spark in the CPL for Trinbago Knight Riders since his return to the game.

Harper said his non-selection was an opportunity for the Trinidadian to regain his form in the upcoming domestic tournaments.

“We all know the quality of a player like Darren Bravo, the sort of Test record he has, the sort of one-day record he has representing West Indies,” he explained.

“We recognise that Darren has not been at his best; he hasn't been the Darren Bravo that we know, that we've seen over the years — and we wanted to give him the opportunity to go away, get his game right, and come back being the best that he can be so he can make a real positive impact for the West Indies.

“This is an opportunity for him to go back, whether he plays club cricket but definitely our regional cricket, and get himself back into form so he can be the force we know he can be in world cricket.”

Despite a maiden ODI hundred in the World Cup in England, Brathwaite's form has also been under the microscope. The Barbadian averages 16 with the bat and 41 with his medium pace from 44 matches in that format.

In T20s where he took over as captain three years ago, Brathwaite averages 14 with the bat from 41 games and 32 with the ball. Strikingly, his last 18 T20s have yielded a highest score of 15 not out, and a lowly batting average of eight.

Brathwaite also struggled badly in the CPL, scraping 99 runs from 11 innings at an average of nine.

Veteran opener Chris Gayle will also sit out the tour after making himself unavailable, while Test fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has been ruled out with “medical concerns”, and off-spinner Sunil Narine through injury.

However, Lendl Simmons has been recalled to the T20 squad following 24 months out of international cricket, while fellow Trinidadian and former Test captain, Denesh Ramdin returns following a year on the sidelines.

Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, sidelined from international cricket with injury since last February, has been named in all three formats.

In addition to the limited overs series, a Jason Holder-led 14-man squad will take on Afghanistan in the lone Test match starting November 27, also in India.

Squads: Test — Jason Holder (captain), Shai Hope, John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris, Jomel Warrican, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph

ODI – Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph.

T20I — Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Hayden Walsh, Jason Holder, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Denesh Ramdin, Kesrick Williams, Alzarri Joseph


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