Veteran opener Chris Gayle has been named in a strong 14-member West Indies squad for the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against India, the WICB announced on Friday (July 26).
Ahead of the England series in March, Gayle had said that he would retire after the ODI World Cup but surprisingly changed his mind during the tournament and has made himself available for the India series.
The southpaw will miss the preceding T20I series as he will be busy playing in the Global T20 Canada league.
“Chris is a very valuable player and he brings a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge, he lends a lot to any dressing room and it is great to have him in the squad,” interim West Indies head coach Floyd Reifer said.
West Indies have also recalled Keemo Paul, Roston Chase and John Campbell as the three changes from their World Cup squad. Sunil Ambris, Darren Bravo, Shannon Gabriel and Ashley Nurse have been dropped while Jason Holder will continue to lead the side.
“We have a mixture of some experienced and young ODI players,” said Reifer. “It is good to have Keemo, John and Roston back, and they will help to bring further balance to the team. Looking ahead to the series, I think we have a lot to build upon following the World Cup.
“We have retained a large number of players from the World Cup squad, so there is a lot to build on and I am looking forward to the series.”
West Indies had a poor outing at the World Cup finishing ninth on the points table with just two wins out of eight completed matches. They had a few individual flashes of brilliance all the way through the tournament but fell short when it came to firing as a unit.
Reifer said that West Indies’ preparation for the 2023 World Cup will begin right away with the India series.
“We have to start planning now for the World Cup in 2023 and we are looking for a solid squad that we can work with over the next four years. We want to build them into a consistent winning team in this format so that they have a real chance of success in 4-years’ time,” Reifer said.
“We had a number of young players in the last World Cup squad. We played some decent cricket. We were in match-winning positions, but we just didn’t win the key moments or finish off the games. The players have learnt a lot from the World Cup, and we are looking to improve their skills, their mindsets and playing together as a team. The more they can play together, the better it will be for them.”
The three-match ODI series will get underway on August 8 at the Guyana National Stadium before the two teams head to the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad for the remaining two fixtures on August 11 and 14.
West Indies squad:
Jason Holder (c), John Campbell, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Keemo Paul, Chris Gayle, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope, Kemar Roach.