ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Five players with international experience have boosted the West Indies A-Team for its three-week tour of Bangladesh, which starts early next month.
The West Indies selection panel yesterday announced that Lionel Baker, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Brendan Nash, and Gavin Tonge have been added to the line-up for the trip, which includes two first-class matches against Bangladesh-A and a three-nation limited-overs series that also involves South Africa-A.
“We will have some players joining the team who have already played at the international level, and the team will be able to benefit from their experience and knowledge,” said A-Team coach Hendy Springer in a West Indies Cricket Board media release.
“I am sure everyone will be trying to create an impression, and get elevation to the highest level of the game.”
He added: “We will be facing different opposition in foreign conditions, so we will have to make that adjustment from very early.
“In any sport, the best performers are the ones who are able to make the adjustment and perform, so this will be another perfect opportunity for these players to demonstrate their ability to face challenges and overcome them.”
The 14-member squad, which will be captained by Travis Dowlin with Adrian Barath his deputy, shows eight changes to the line-up that beat Zimbabwe in a four-day, first-class match, and two Twenty20s in Grenada over the last two weeks.
Brandon Bess, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shane Dowrich, Assad Fudadin, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Haynes, and Jason Holder have all been shipped-out. In their places have come the five experienced players, as well as uncapped leg-spinner Odean Brown, and compatriot Chadwick Walton.
Springer however, heaped praise on the collective efforts of the seven players that were part of the matches in Grenada.
“The team played very well in the four-day match and the two T20 matches against Zimbabwe in Grenada,” he said.
“This tour of Bangladesh is another opportunity for these young men to build on what they started.”
He continued: “The players worked really hard and got success. If they continue the hard work they will get more success.”
The tour presents a meaningful chance for all of the players to stake a claim for a place in the Test, if not limited-overs squad for the home series against South Africa.
Clyde Butts and his fellow selectors are still considering their options for an opening partner for West Indies captain Chris Gayle, although Barath seems to have nailed that down in the series against Australia at the end of last year.
It appears there are no vacancies in the West Indies middle-order with Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Nash, and Dwayne Bravo the likely combination, but the selectors won’t complain if Dowlin, Darren Bravo, Dwayne’s younger brother, as well as Kirk Edwards post some decent scores.
At least, they will know there are others available to fill-in if there are injuries or lack of form to the settled bunch.
Denesh Ramdin’s lack of form, particularly in front of the stumps, if not behind, makes him vulnerable, and Walton could be the ideal remedy for wicketkeeper/batsman position.
He has however, to he overcome the obvious nervousness at the crease, which he has shown in his previous internationals, and post some scores with the bat that would make the selectors think long and hard.
Similarly Sulieman Benn and Nikita Miller would be the front-runners for the spin bowling position, but the selectors would relish Imran Khan, in particular, Odean Brown, and Shane Shillingford giving evidence that they could make it on the international stage.
With doubts over the fitness of Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards likely to be on the sidelines for the rest of the year, and questions about Ravi Rampaul’s suitability, Baker, Nelon Pascal, and Tonge could have a one-way ticket into the senior side.
The tour begins on May 4, with the three-nation, limited-overs series at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah.
West Indies-A will remain in Bangladesh after the final on May 15 to play a pair of four-day matches against the host’s A-Team at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan in Savar.
The first match opens on May 15, and the second starts on May 21.
Squad: Travis Dowlin (captain), Adrian Barath (vice-captain), Lionel Baker, Darren Bravo, Odean Brown, Kirk Edwards, Justin Guillen, Imran Khan, Brendan Nash, Nelon Pascal, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Gavin Tonge and Chadwick Walton.