Hayden Walsh Jr. and Brandon King, the highest wicket-taker and top run-getter in the 2019 Caribbean Premier League, have been included in the West Indies T20I & ODI squad for the series against Afghanistan in November.
Leg-spinner Walsh Jr., who made his debut for USA in 2018, picked up 22 wickets for the CPL champions Barbados Tridents in 9 games. The 24-year-old King, a key figure in the 11-match winning run of the Guyanna Amazon Warriors, smashed 32 maximums in the tournament and amassed 496 runs in 12 innings.
Romario Shephard is another CPL star who has forced his way into the Windies team after picking up 13 wickets in the 2019 edition.
Keiron Pollard, who last played an ODI in 2016, will lead the team in the limited overs formats. Star all-rounder Jason Holder has been named in the squad for all formats and remains the captain of the Test team.
Notable absentees in the ODI & T20I squads include Carlos Brathwaite, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Rovaman Powell.
The Afghanistan-West Indies series, which will be played in Dehradun, India, begins with the 3-match T20I series on November 5,7 and 9. This is followed by three ODIs on November 13, 16 and 18 before finally finishing with an one-off Test that begins on November 27.
The Windies will then play a T20I and an ODI series against India in December.
T20I squad: Kieron Pollard (capt.), Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr., Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Denesh Ramdin, Kesrick Williams, Alzarri Joseph.
ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (capt), Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr., Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd.
Test squad: Jason Holder (c), Shai Hope, John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris, Jomel Warrican, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph
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The series might already be in the bag for India, but the hosts will not be taking their foot off the pedal just yet as they get ready to take on South Africa in the third and final Test in Ranchi that begins on Saturday.
Virat Kohli and his men raced away to a 2-0 lead in the series with emphatic victories in Visakhapatnam and Pune, but the 40 precious World Test Championship points on offer in Ranchi means that there’s still plenty at stake for them.
For the visitors, it is about regaining some pride in their displays after what has been a chastening Test series for a new look Proteas side.
Proteas woes compounded with key injuries
As if the two mammoth defeats against the hosts weren’t enough, South Africa’s woes have been compounded further with injuries to two key players.
Spin spearhead Keshav Maharaj has been the best Proteas bowler on show in the two defeats so far, but the 29-year-old’s absence is set to greatly felt in Ranchi after he was ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Maharaj has had to bowl marathon spells in Vizag and Pune with South Africa’s two other spinners – Dane Piedt and Senuran Muthusamy – barely making any impact at all. With another spin-friendly track set to greet the visitors in Ranchi, the Proteas will be hoping that one of Muthusamy, Piedt or the recently called up George Linde can put their hands up against an Indian batting unit firing on all cylinders.
The second injury is the one opener Aiden Markram sustained in bizarre fashion after reportedly slamming the dressing room wall in frustration in Pune. The right-hander’s subcontinent woes continued in the second Test after he bagged a pair of ducks but his absence will still come as a blow given the team’s lack of other viable options.
In Markram’s place, Zubayr Hamza is set to get his chance but the opener has just the experience of one previous Test behind him.
Injury thwarts Kuldeep’s chance as Nadeem gets call up
India’s spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been rampant in the two Tests so far with the duo combining for 24 wickets between themselves.
While the two experienced stalwarts haven’t allowed any breathing space for the South Africa batsmen, there could have been the possibility of a third spinner in the fray for India on Saturday.
Youngster Kuldeep Yadav has had to bide his time on the bench and the wrist-spinner was looking likely to make his first Test appearance since January this year if Friday’s net session was anything to go by.
The 24-year-old had an extensive workout with both bat and ball in the practice session and it would have been the perfect time to unleash him on Saturday against a Proteas side wilting under the pressure. However, the spinner complained of pain in his shoulders late after the net session and that has prompted the hosts to hand Shahbaz Nadeem his maiden Test call-up as cover.
The pitch for Ranchi is expected to take some turn and India would have been tempted to go in with a three-man spin attack before the late injury to Kuldeep scuppered those plans. Nadeem is unlikely to be thrown straight into the cauldron after joining the squad just on the eve of the Test, but he could be handy in case India need to make a concussion substitute.
Du Plessis promises to keep fighting in horror India tour
The retirements of key stalwarts such as Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn has left a gaping hole in terms of experience in the rejigged South Africa Test squad and it has clearly shown in the team’s displays in India.
The inexperienced squad has been found wanting in nearly every department and their meek series surrender has even forced Cricket South Africa to assure fans about the future of the Proteas Test outfit.
While things are looking far from rosy, skipper Faf du Plessis has vowed to carry the fight in the final Test. “It is tough. It is tough when you’re losing,” he said ahead of the final Test.
“For us, we’re very, very competitive people, so it does take a dent out of your confidence, but international sport is supposed to be hard, and the guys who’ve stayed at the top for a long time will tell you that it comes with ups and it comes with downs, personally and from a team point of view.
“So it’s important for us to understand that we have to fight our way out of these last two losses. We can’t expect things just to happen.”
“The senior players are trying to keep the guys motivated. We’re still representing our country which is still an immensely proud moment for all of us.” 🇿🇦 - #Watch Dean Elgar Talk about the buildup to the last Test match in India. https://t.co/GxR18jHzGf— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) October 18, 2019
India: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.
South Africa: Zubayr Hamza, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn, Faf u Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Senuran Muthusamy, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
Hosts UAE will look to put recent controversies behind they as they lock horns with neighbours Oman in their 2020 T20I World Cup Qualifier campaign opener at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi.
With as many as six spots on offer for the final 2020 tournament in Australia, Ahmed Reza’s men will hope to make a winning start in the seven-team Group B.
The hosts will have to make do without the services of key players such as Mohammed Naveed, Qadeer Ahmed Khan and Shaiman Anwar Butt with the trio currently suspended from cricket after being charged for multiple ICC Anti-Corruption Code violations.
Follow the ball-by-ball action below from the Sheikh Zayed International cricket stadium in what could be a fierce contest.