West Indies picked hard-hitting all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall for the Test series against India.
Cornwall made headlines early in his career for his size and was kept out of top level cricket due to weight and fitness issues. After starting off at more than 140 kilos, Corwall has shed the pounds and after consistent performances for the West Indies ‘A’ team and first-class cricket, the off-spinning all-rounder has been selected to play the two-Test series against the Indians that follows the ongoing ODI series.
Cornwall played four one-day and two four-day games against India ‘A’ and performed well. He failed to pick up a wicket in just two out of eight outings and hit two fifties in the red-ball games.
Cornwall has 260 wickets from 55 first-class games and was the leading bowler in the recent regional four-day tournament.
“Rahkeem has been performing consistently over a long period of time and has proven to be a match-winner, so we believe his elevation to the Test squad is merited at this time,” Robert Haynes, the head of the interim selection panel, said.
“We believe he can provide an attacking option to our bowling attack with his sharp turn and extra bounce. He can also lend a bit of depth to the batting, so we are looking forward to him coming into the squad and making a valuable contribution.”
The selectors retained most of the squad that registered a stunning 2-1 Test series win over England earlier this year in the Caribbean, apart from injured fast bowler Alzarri Joseph and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican.
West Indies ‘A’ captain Shamarh Brooks is the only other uncapped player in the squad, apart from Cornwall.
WI Test squad: Jason Holder (c), Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer Shai Hope, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach
The debate over who is the best Test batsman in the world has been reignited ever since Steve Smith made an epic return to the format after more than a year out of the international game.
The Australian’s twin tons under adverse circumstances in the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston to lead his team to a win has seen him once again enter the conversation.
When it comes to the best Test batsman of the ongoing era, it is the ‘Fab Four’ comprising of Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root who have dominated the discussion for several years.
“I said during the summer that Virat Kohli is the best player I have ever seen but that (Smith’s knocks) is just another level,” Australia head coach Justin Langer said after Smith’s magnificent display at Edgbaston.
There may never be a clear consensus among fans and pundits alike when it comes to picking one from the four batsmen with each of them having his own merits. We do, however, have the official yardstick of the ICC Test rankings to fall back on when it comes to making this tough decision.
Smith’s knocks of 144 and 142 at Birmingham have seen the right-hander break into the top-three of the rankings again despite spending more than a year out of the game due to his ball-tampering suspension.
That superlative display by the former Australia skipper has seen him collect as many as 46 rating points from just one game to overtake India’s Cheteshwar Pujara to the third spot. It has taken the Aussie’s points tally to 903 and he is now only 13 behind the No1 ranked Kohli who is perched at the top with 922 points.
Black Caps skipper Williamson is sandwiched in the second spot with 913 points despite the fewer number of Tests played by his side while his England counterpart Root is further behind in sixth-place with 741 points.
With Australia, India, England and New Zealand all in action in the Test format in the upcoming few weeks, it is going to be an interesting race to the No1 spot.
The Aussies and the English are currently locked in a fierce battle for the Ashes while India are all set to play a two-Test series in the West Indies later this month. New Zealand, meanwhile, will be in action in a two-Test series in Sri Lanka which begins next week.
As Smith has shown with his display at Edgbaston, a huge swing in the points can take place after just one match and that means that the top positions in the rankings could be changing hands multiple times in the near future.
Upcoming Test series
West Indies (away) – Two Tests in August
South Africa (home) – Three Tests in October
Bangladesh (home) – Two Tests in November
New Zealand (away) – Two Tests in February, 2020
Upcoming Test series
Sri Lanka (away) – Two Tests in August
Australia (Away) – Three Tests in December
India (home) – Two Tests in February, 2020
Upcoming Test series
England (away) – Four Tests remaining in August-September
Pakistan (home) – Two Tests in November
New Zealand (home) – Three Tests in December
Bangladesh (away) – Two Tests in February, 2020
Upcoming Test series
Australia (home) – Four Tests remaining in August-September
South Africa (away) – Five Tests in December-January
Sri Lanka (away) – Two Tests in March, 2020
Jofra Archer and Jack Leach have been included in England’s 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test at Lord’s next week but Moeen Ali has been dropped.
Paceman Archer is in line to make a much-anticipated Test debut as a replacement in the XI for England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson, ruled out at the Home of Cricket because of a calf injury that restricted him to four overs in the Specsavers series opener.
Leach, man of the match in his most recent Test outing against Ireland a fortnight ago, has come in for fellow spinner Moeen, who has been omitted after a poor showing in the 251-run defeat to Australia last week.
Moeen offered neither control nor a consistent threat in Australia’s second innings, with unflattering figures of two for 130 from 29 overs containing two ‘moon ball’ beamers.
His ineffectiveness came under scrutiny after fellow off-spinner Nathan Lyon took six for 49 which helped to lift Australia into a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series.
The all-rounder also contributed just four runs with the bat and his recent run of low scores has seen his average dip below 30, prompting England to turn to Leach, whose improbable 92 as a nightwatchman ushered Joe Root’s side to victory against Ireland.
Furthermore, Leach’s slow left-armers are viewed as a potential antidote to Australia talisman Steve Smith, who averages 34.9 against orthodox left-arm finger spin, comfortably his lowest among the various modes of bowling.
Smith became only the fifth Australian to register hundreds in either innings of an Ashes contest at Edgbaston though England are likely to have more of a varied bowling attack at HQ.
Archer, England’s leading wicket-taker during their triumphant World Cup campaign, is set to provide the pace threat, with the Bajan-born speedster capable of regularly bowling in excess of 90mph.
He was omitted in Birmingham due to concerns over a side strain but has proven his fitness in a Sussex Second XI fixture this week, taking six for 27 before amassing a breezy century against Gloucestershire’s second string.
Fellow paceman Olly Stone’s back injury precludes his involvement though left-arm seamer Sam Curran retains his place in the squad, as does Joe Denly, whose spot came under scrutiny after scores of 18 and 11 last week.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
Provided by Press Association Sports