With their defence of the ICC World Twenty20 Championship title just days away, regional selectors today named the identical squad for the Bangladesh tournament to play England in three Twenty20 Internationals starting at Kensington Oval on Sunday.
West Indies opener Chris Gayle will return from injury after missing the three One-Day Internationals England won 2-1. Gayle missed the matches because of soreness in his hip. He had also missed the preceding tour of New Zealand where West Indies drew the One-Day Internationals but were defeated in the Test series.
Gayle had sustained a hamstring injury on the swiftly arranged tour of India that coincided with the retirement of Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar. His form has been patchy over the past six months but coach Ottis Gibson has publicly stated he expected his premier batsman to provide the counter to the off-spin threat which England has put forward at the top of the Windies innings. James Tredwell, as well as part-timers Joe Root and Moeen Ali, has provided worries for the home side’s
The team will be without key T20 specialist Kieron Pollard, who is still recovering from a knee injury sustained from playing a charity football match in January. Fast bowler Sheldon Cotterrell who was a surprise inclusion in the World T20 squad ahead of the likes of Jason Holder, could receive his first limited-overs cap before West Indies make the trip to Bangladesh. Cotterrell, with one Test cap, made the tours of India and New Zealand but took no part in the ODIs or T20s.
West Indies’ T20 form has been poor lately, having lost five of their last six matches, including a six-wicket capitulation to Ireland in Kingston last month.
The England team arrived in Barbados today but have received a setback with the withdrawal of Root from their squad. Root was struck by a Ravi Rampaul delivery third ball of his innings yesterday at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium and the medical staff wanted him to retire hurt during a rain break, but Root insisted on resuming and scored a superbly-paced maiden ODI hundred to help England to a series-winning total of 303 for 6.
He also opened the bowling, removing Kieran Powell in his first over, but soon left the field and spent the majority of West Indies’ innings sat in the dugout with a large ice pack strapped to his thumb. His all-round performances in the ODIs earned him the Man of the Series award.
In an announcement on Root’s withdrawal from the West Indies tour, the England and Wales Cricket Board did not rule Root out of the World T20 in Bangladesh, but just stated he would be returning to the United Kingdom to see a specialist.
England captain Stuart Broad has stated that the key to his side’s success in T20 series will be how well they adjust to conditions at Kensington Oval where the pitches are expected to be livelier than those encountered at North Sound in Antigua.
“Winning helps your confidence and your belief, and to win in pressure scenarios in conditions that are a little bit foreign to us should help our belief. It should give us confidence,” Broad said.
While Broad acknowledged the importance of their ODI series win, he said the focus was now on success in Barbados.
“You saw at the end the celebrations from the guys, how much it means to us to win a series,” he said.
“A lot of these guys haven’t been part of the one-day squad for a little while. To come over to the West Indies, play 50-over cricket and produce like we have done is awesome.
“We’re now into Twenty20 mode that we take to a World Cup, but I think we got a lot out the last two weeks in Antigua,” he said.
West Indies team: Darren Sammy (Captain), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cotterrell, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin (wkt), Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.