West Indies coach Stuart Law has challenged his one-day squad to use the remainder of the series against England to prove they should be part of the team who will now need to contest the qualifying tournament next year to reach the 2019 World Cup.
Defeat at Old Trafford in the opening match of the series condemned West Indies to the long route to a World Cup spot, with the qualifying tournament set to take place in Zimbabwe early next year. That leaves Law with the rest of the England tour and then three matches in New Zealand at the end of the year as their only scheduled ODIs to firm up their best one-day squad.
“Our plan is to go to Zimbabwe next year with a settled team, a team where everyone knows their roles and what they want to achieve,” Law said. “It’s a balancing act because what some players bring is extraordinary and you don’t want to nullify that effect. We’ve still got some selectorial conversations to have, to understand if we have the best players to take this team forward.
“There’s plenty of A-team cricket in the Caribbean – Sri Lanka are there and England are coming next year so there are opportunities – but I’d like to go to New Zealand with a team which is pretty settled before the qualifiers.”
Chris Gayle, who tweaked a hamstring at Trent Bridge, and Marlon Samuels have returned to the side for this series. Other players could come back into the mix with Law saying that Sunil Narine would be a certain pick if he made himself available. Narine was Man of the Match in the T20 against England at Chester-le-Street, but said he wanted to play some domestic one-day cricket before returning to the format he last played nearly a year ago.
The dates for West Indies’ domestic one-day tournament, the Regional Super50, have yet to be confirmed, but last year it began in late January so may not leave Narine much time to stake a claim for the squad to go to the qualifiers. Another player who may come back on the radar is Andre Russell, whose one-year ban for missed drugs tests finishes on January 31, 2018.
“Most people would be excited to have a guy like Andre Russell champing at the bit to play international cricket,” Law said. “Sunil Narine showed his class in the T20. He stated he wanted to get some 50-over cricket in, which is fair enough, but if he decides he wants to give ODIs a go he’d be one of the first picks with the spin he provides.”
Kyle Hope was brought into the side at Trent Bridge after Gayle’s injury today, while Miguel Cummins replaced Devendra Bishoo as West Indies went with a different balance of side. While Law is aware of the players currently outside the squad, he is keen to put his faith in those currently on duty.
“This group I feel has a lot of good, that’s why they are here,” he added. “We are just making sure they understand how they want to play, they are caught between T20 and Test cricket a little at the moment and need to find a tempo for this format.”