Windies touch down in Australia
ADELAIDE, Australia (CMC) — West Indies arrived on Saturday in Australia to begin preparations for their two-Test series against the hosts next month.
The Caribbean side will blood at least four newcomers in the first Test against the Australians, starting on January 16 at the Adelaide Oval before moving to the Gabba in Brisbane from January 25 for the second Test, after naming seven uncapped players in a 15-man squad for the series.
The uncapped players in the squad are opener Zachary McCaskie, wicketkeeper-batsman Tevin Imlach, all-rounders Justin Greaves, Kavem Hodge, and Kevin Sinclair, along with pacers Akeem Jordan and Shamar Joseph.
West Indies are eighth in the world rankings and their hopes of ending a 20-year losing streak against the hosts appear shaky with former Captain Jason Holder and fellow all-rounder Kyle Mayers electing to skip the series to play franchise Twenty20 cricket.
The team, led by Kraigg Brathwaite with fast bowler Alzarri Joseph elevated to vice-captain for the first time, has also been hit by the absence of emerging fast bowler Jayden Seales with a shoulder injury.
The West Indies selection panel, led by former captain and noted opening batsman Desmond Haynes, also chose to omit stalwarts such as Jermaine Blackwood and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel from the squad.
The least experienced member of the Australia squad that beat Pakistan by 79 runs in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne in their three-Test series was wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey with 27 caps.
It is likely that another player may take that honour from Carey with long-standing opener David Warner set to retire after the final Test of the series against the Pakistanis next month in Sydney, and the possibility of Australia resting members of their pace bowling unit.
West Indies will be trying to avoid an eighth consecutive series sweep against the Aussies on the Tour after the hosts won a two-Test series last year that featured matches in Perth and Adelaide.
The last occasion the Caribbean side won a Test against Australia was two decades ago during a 3-1 home series loss, while their last victory in the country was in 1997.