ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Much of the spotlight will fall on out-of-form West Indies middle-order batsman Darren Bravo when he turns out for West Indies A in a three-day tour match against India starting at the Coolidge Cricket Ground tomorrow.
The Trinidadian has endured modest success since returning to international cricket last November following a well-publicised spat with former Cricket West Indies president, Dave Cameron. Though he played in the series against England he subsequently lost his place in both the One-Day International and Twenty20 sides.
His 59 runs from five innings in the three-Test series against England earlier this year only served to reaffirm his troubles at the crease.
But he remains one of West Indies’ most experienced batsmen in the longest format, however, and along with vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite is the only player with more than 50 Tests to his name.
Bravo has eight hundreds and 17 fifties, and averages 38 from 52 Tests, and West Indies will be hoping he finds form in the coming days, ahead of the opening Test bowling off at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground next Thursday.
Bravo was out of the West Indies side after Cameron questioned his performances and he responded with what was deemed a disrespectful tweet. After being dropped, he subsequently made himself unavailable for West Indies duties on a number of occasions before rejoining the team.
The left-handed Trinidadian came into international cricket in the same era as India’s Virat Kohli, England’s Joe Root, Australia’s Steve Smith and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and was considered an equally exciting talent. But while their careers have blossomed and are ranked as the four best batsmen in Test cricket, Bravo’s career has stagnated.
Bravo will be joined in the 14-man West Indies A squad by rookie opener John Campbell who impressed in the only three Tests of his career against England, but without really dominating.
The 25-year-old averaged 35 from six innings but more importantly, struck up an excellent partnership with fellow opener Brathwaite with whom he shared four half-century stands.
West Indies white-ball specialist, all-rounder Rovman Powell, will also feature in the three-day game along with left-handed batsman Jonathan Carter and promising left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, both of whom have also represented the senior team in the shorter formats.
Also included in the team is promising Guyanese fast-bowler Romario Shepherd who caught the eye during the West Indies A series against India A. Shepherd, 24, has taken 70 wickets in 22 first-class matches at an average of 23.71 and is more than handy with the bat with three half-centuries at the first-class level.
Barbadian fast-bowler Keon Harding has not set the first-class regional scene on fire in his 10 matches where he has only 25 wickets, but he will get a chance to show what he is worth against the strong Indian line-up. Big-turning off-spinner Akim Frazer also gets the opportunity to put his talent on display. The highly touted Jamaican has already snared 24 first-class wickets in just five matches.
The side will be led by wicketkeeper/batsman Jahmar Hamilton in a match that is India’s only tour game before the opening Test next week.
SQUAD – Jahmar Hamilton (captain), Darren Bravo, John Campbell, Jonathan Carter, Akim Fraser, Keon Harding, Kavem Hodge, Brandon King, Jason Mohammed, Marquino Mindley, Khary Pierre, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Jeremy Solozano.