ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Out-of-favour batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has been named in a 30-man West Indies squad to prepare for next year’s Cricket World Cup in Asia, months after being axed for the tour of Sri Lanka and overlooked for a central retainer contract.
The 30-year-old right-hander, a veteran of 83 Tests and 156 One-Day Internationals, will be joined by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin who was also snubbed for the recent Asian trip and chopped from the retainer contract list.
Selectors have found no room for flashy Trinidadian opener Lendl Simmons who has been repeatedly ignored since the one-day tour of Australia almost a year ago.
Sarwan, however, a shocking omission earlier this year, now seems poised to find his way back into the West Indies fold.
The West Indies Cricket Board had cited the player’s lingering fitness issues as the reasons for not offering him a central contract, and this was quickly followed by his dumping from the Test and ODI tour of Sri Lanka.
He last played for West Indies back in May in the second ODI against South Africa, during their tour of the Caribbean.
In his only serious cricket since then, he managed just 64 runs from three innings in the WICB One-Day Championship in Jamaica, with his top score of 63 coming in one innings the Leeward Islands.
Ramdin, meanwhile, played for West Indies A against Pakistan A in November with precious little success and he got a highest score of an unbeaten 43 in tallying 60 runs during the regional one-day tournament.
Carlton Baugh, who replaced him on the Sri Lanka tour, has been included in the 30-man squad along with Devon Thomas, who was his assistant then.
Jamaican batsman Brendan Nash is the only player with a retainer contract who has not been included in the squad.
Leg-spinners Devendra Bishoo and Anthony Martin, both Windies A players, have found favour with selectors while their teammates, fast bowler Jason Holder and batsman Jonathan Carter, have also received the nod.
The squad will be trimmed to 15 by January 19 for the February 19 to April 2 tournament in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.
West Indies will campaign in Group B alongside the Netherlands, Ireland, South Africa, India, England and Bangladesh.
SQUAD – Lionel Baker, Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh Jr, Sulieman Benn, Dave Bernard Jr, Tino Best, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Shiv Chanderpaul, Kirk Edwards, Chris Gayle, Ryan Hinds, Jason Holder, Anthony Martin, Nikita Miller, Nelon Pascal, Kieron Pollard, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Gavin Tonge, Devon Thomas.