Opening batsman Kieran Powell looks set for a return to West Indies’ first-class cricket competition after a gap of almost two years, after he was picked in Leeward Islands’ 13-man squad for the Regional 4-day tournament match against Guyana, which started today.
Powell last played a first-class match for Leeward Islands in April 2014. He went on to play the Kingston Test against New Zealand in June 2014 but has been out of the West Indies squad since then. In February-March 2015, he played four first-class matches for Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club in Sri Lanka’s first-class Premier League Tournament.
In January 2015, Powell issued a statement saying that mixed signals from West Indies cricket authorities had left him “deflated and confused” as he attempted to return to international cricket after a self-imposed break for the game. This resulted in his decision to step away from the game for some time. In January 2016, he tried his hand at baseball, without much success.
Leeward Island Cricket Association chief executive, Richard Berridge, said Powell had stated that he was mentally prepared to return to first-class cricket.
“Kieran was always going to come back to cricket. I don’t know the exact details but what I do know is that he made himself available to us,” Berridge said. “He said he was ready – mentally ready to return to the game – and therefore the selection panel chose to include him in the squad for the ninth round.
“For the Leeward Islands Cricket Board it is certainly positive news. As you know, Kieran has played 21 Test matches already for West Indies, he’s scored three Test hundreds and he is also a past captain of our team, so a player of that calibre we’re always happy to welcome back into the fold.
“He will have to perform, just like anyone else. I think he would be recalled [to West Indies] if he performs. I know there are only two matches left in the four-day season. However, it is a start and we really hope he builds from strength to strength.”
Powell has played 21 Tests for West Indies since his debut against India in July 2011, scoring 1072 runs, including three centuries and two fifties. He scored centuries in each innings of a Test against Bangladesh in November 2012, having scored his maiden hundred against New Zealand in July that year. He has however underperformed and averages a paltry 27.48 at the Test level. In 68 first-class matches he has scored 3973 runs with six centuries and 21 fifties at a below-par average of 33.95.