ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Left-hander Kieran Powell was in line for a return to Test action after being named in WICB President’s XI side to face Pakistan in a three-day game starting in Jamaica next weekend.
The 27-year-old, who three years ago abruptly took a self-imposed break from the game, announced his return earlier this year by amassing a tournament-best 513 runs in the Regional Super50, with three hundreds.
He was subsequently included in the West Indies one-day squad but has met with little success, scoring a single half-century so far in five innings.
The WICB President’s XI, which will be led as usual by Barbados Pride’s Shamarh Brooks, includes out-of-form left-hander Vishaul Singh as vice-captain, along with the leading run-scorer in the first class tournament, Kyle Hope of Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.
However, not even an imperious double hundred last month has been enough for Sunil Ambris to force his way back into the side.
The Vincentian has compiled 571 runs at an average of 47 in the ongoing first class season and only last month, pummelled a stroke-filled career-best 231 against Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Warner Park.
The knock came against the backdrop of the 24-year-old right-hander’s heavy scoring in this year’s Regional Super50 where he struck six half-centuries in gathering 423 runs at an average of 70.
He was picked in the President XI’s one-day game against England in February but made just one.
Hope, who also played in that game, has returned again by virtue of his handsome form in the Regional four-day championship which has seen his score 649 runs at an average of nearly 50 with a century and five half-centuries.
The right-hander, the older brother of current Windies batsman Shai Hope, could find himself competing with Powell for the final Test opening spot alongside Kraigg Brathwaite, for the first Test against Pakistan at Sabina Park starting April 22.
Powell, to his advantage, has already tallied three hundreds in 21 Tests.
Successful former Youth World Cup captain, Shimron Hetmyer, gets his chance following 496 runs and four half-centuries in the four-day season while Guyana Jaguars teammate, all-rounder Raymon Reifer, has been rewarded for a campaign that has seen him score 430 runs at an average of 43 and take 30 wickets at 23 apiece with his left-arm seam.
In contrast, however, Guyanese Vishaul, has seen no such success this season, with a mere 317 runs at an average of 26. However, his 161 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele last October has kept him in the frame.
The game bowls off on Saturday at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, located 45 minutes outside of the bustling tourist hub of Montego Bay.
TEAM – Shamarh Brooks (captain), Vishaul Singh (vice captain), Rahkeem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Shimron Hetmyer, Kyle Hope, Damion Jacobs, Keon Joseph, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.