Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo have both been included in a 15-man squad for the International Twenty20 leg of West Indies’ imminent tour to Sri Lanka.
Their officially announced selection comes just hours after the suspension of coach Phil Simmons for his outburst over their exclusion from the One-Day International team to Sri Lanka.
Today chief executive officer of the West Indies Cricket Board Michael Muirhead emphasized that Simmons, who has only been in the job for six months, had not been fired but was on suspension pending an investigation into his comments that were described as a breach of confidentiality that had brought the game into disrepute.
Simmons’ comments about unwanted outside interference in the selection process and his disagreement with Pollard’s and Bravo’s omission from the ODI squad, came even before the squads had been officially announced by the West Indies Cricket Board.
Though neither captain Jason Holder nor chief selector Clive Lloyd had made public comment on the selection of the team, Simmons mentioned both as sharing his opinion and gave a public breakdown of the voting of the selection of the team.
But today Lloyd sought to distance himself from Simmons’ comments to the media, saying such outbursts could not be condoned. He also revealed that Simmons had apologized.
“It was drawn to my attention several things which were said by head coach of the West Indies team Phil Simmons recently as he addressed members of the media in Barbados, following the conclusion of the team’s camp, ahead of the tour of Sri Lanka.
“It must be noted that in the short time that Phil has been involved as head coach, he has done a good job in building team unity and morale, and the players have warmed to his coaching methods.
“Phil has apologised to all for his recent public statements and how strongly he would have felt on certain selection matters of the team
“We agreed –– at times –– that we will have a difference of opinion, but we cannot condone such outbursts.
“Therefore, we will always seek discussion and dialogue at every stage of the selection process and work towards the best interest of West Indies cricket,” Lloyd said.
Meanwhile the teams selected show several changes from West Indies’ last ODI and T20I assignments.
There is a recall to the ODI team for leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo whose last match was against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2011. Andre Fletcher has found favour with the selectors once again having played the last of his 15 ODIs five years ago against South Africa.
Trinidad and Tobago middle-order batsman Jason Mohammed returns to the team having played a single ODI against India in Chennai in 2011. Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood gets the opportunity to make his ODI debut.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine has also been included in both squads.
The Trinidad off-spinner has not played international cricket since he was reported for a suspect action during the 2014 Champions League T20 and barred from bowling for Kolkata Knight Riders in the final of that tournament.
He underwent remedial work and was included in West Indies’ World Cup squad, but pulled out of the competition to give himself more time to work on his action.
Also making a return to international cricket is injury-prone fast bowler and veteran of 90 ODIs, Ravi Rampaul. The 30-year-old pacer who was a surprise omission from this year’s World Cup, last played at the international level against India at Delhi in 2014.
Batsman Lendl Simmons was noticeably missing from both sides. He made a century during the World Cup against Ireland but did little else afterwards with the bat.
Simmons is one of eight changes from the squad that travelled to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup. Chris Gayle is recuperating from back surgery and Dwayne Smith’s continued failures have led to his omission. Smith made only 93 runs in six matches during the World Cup
Also out are Darren Sammy, Sulieman Benn, Sheldon Cottrell, Nikita Miller and Kemar Roach.
Allrounder Sammy had an ordinary World Cup tournament –– 177 runs in five innings and only one wicket in 28 overs. Sammy remains captain of the T20 side however.
Fast bowler Roach and left-arm spinner Benn played three matches each in the World Cup. Roach took only one wicket and went for 6.81 runs an over, while Benn claimed two and conceded 6.34 an over.
Miller, another left-arm spinner, played only the one game in the tournament, while fast bowler Cottrell sat on the bench throughout the campaign. Cottrell and Benn have also been cut from the T20I squad.
Leg-spinner Samuel Badree returns to the T20I lineup after missing the last internationals against South Africa. Also selected to the T20 squads are belligerent opening batsman Johnson Charles, as well as utility player Jonathan Carter, who bats, can bowl both medium pace and spin and is a more than useful wicketkeeper.
ODI squad: Jason Holder (capt), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor
T20I squad: Darren Sammy (capt), Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor.