BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Reigning champions Barbados Pride once again find themselves ravished for the West Indies Championship which resumes today with the third round.
They will come up against Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad but will be without all their leading players, all of whom have just completed West Indies duty or are still in South Africa for the white-ball series.
Missing are West Indies Captain Kraigg Brathwaite, along with fast bowlers Kemar Roach and Akeem Jordan, who were members of the Test squad for the two-match series.
Stroke-maker Shamarh Brooks, who turned out in the first two rounds of the championship, has been called up to both white-ball squads for the March 16-28 campaign and has been joined by all-rounders Jason Holder, Raymon Reifer, Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers.
While neither Brathwaite, Roach, Holder, Chase nor Mayers featured in the opening two rounds, Jordan will be a big miss for Pride as he is the competition's leading wicket-taker with 12 scalps.
There is no such misfortune for Pride's opponents as they welcome back inspirational right-hander Devon Thomas who was part of the Test squad in South Africa.
The 33-year-old, one of Hurricanes' leading scorers in recent seasons, missed the first two rounds of the championship because of international duty.
Jamaica Scorpions will be boosted by the return of right-hander Nkrumah Bonner for their clash with Windward Islands Volcanoes at Guyana National Stadium.
Bonner was dropped for the Test series against South Africa due to a poor run of form but will now lead Scorpions' batting, especially in the absence of Test Vice-Captain Jermaine Blackwood.
Volcanoes have also been strengthened by the return of the tournament's second-leading run-scorer and their captain, Alick Athanaze, who was also part of the Test squad for South Africa but failed to get a game.
The 24-year-old left-hander plundered 244 runs at an average 61, including a maiden first class century of 141 in the second round against Guyana Harpy Eagles.
For their part, leaders Harpy Eagles remain relatively settled, continuing to do without batsman Shimron Hetmyer, fast bowler Romario Shepherd, and left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie for their third-round meeting with Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at the Brian Lara stadium.
Hetmyer has not featured for Harpy Eagles for the season despite not being part of the West Indies set-up, while Shepherd is on international duty. Motie played in last week's final Test against the Proteas but is not a member of the white-ball squads.
Similarly for Red Force, there has been no major disruption to their squad from the opening two rounds.
They will be led by veteran 34-year-old left-hander Darren Bravo, whose excellent form has yielded a hundred in each round to be the tournament's leading run-scorer with 261 runs at an average of 87.
Harpy Eagles top the tables with 28.6 points, with Pride second on 23 and Red Force third on 20.6.
Volcanoes are fourth on 19.4, Hurricanes are fifth on 17.4, while Scorpions are bottom on 10 points.
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