ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Uncapped batsmen Kyle Hope and Sunil Ambris have been rewarded for their recent heavy scoring with spots in the West Indies 13-man squad for the doubleheader of the five-match series against India starting here Friday.
They are the only changes to the squad that was chosen for the opening doubleheader in Trinidad last weekend, with left-hander Jonathan Carter and seamer Kesrick Williams dropped from that side.
As expected, the squad is led by regular skipper Jason Holder and retains the core of the side from recent past series.
The 28-year-old Hope, the older brother of Windies stroke-maker Shai Hope, earned his spot primarily though his prolific run-getting in the first class championship while Ambris, a 24-year-old right-hander from St Vincent and the Grenadines, came to the fore for Windward Islands Volcanoes in both the first class and one-day tournaments.
“Sunil Ambris and Kyle Hope are two very promising young batsmen who have been selected on the basis of strong performances in our competitions,” chief selector Courtney Browne said.
Hope plundered 649 runs in the first class championship with a century and five half-centuries, to be the second highest run-getter.
While he had a modest Regional Super50 with just 225 runs at an average of 28, he however impressed on last October’s Windies A tour of Sri Lanka, slamming 107 and 81 in two of the three unofficial one-dayers.
Hope has been on the fringe of senior team selection in recent times, picked to play against touring England in February and Pakistan in April.
“Kyle opened on our last “A” Team One-Day tour to Sri Lanka and had some very good performances,” Browne reminded.
“In addition, he also had a good showing opening the batting for the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force franchise in this year’s PCL competition.”
Ambris, meanwhile, has made his performances hard to ignore. The aggressive middle order batsman shone for Volcanoes in the Regional Super50 with 423 runs at an average of 70, including six half-centuries.
He was also one of seven batsmen to amass more than 600 runs in the first class championship, ending with 608 at an average of 43.
Ambris conjured up a superb 231 against Leeward Islands Hurricanes in March at an astonishing strike rate of 90, which would have caught the eyes of selectors.
“Sunil did well in our Regional Super50 One-Day tournament and also had a good showing in this year’s PCL first-class tournament for Windward Islands Volcanoes and therefore will fit within our middle order,” Browne explained.
West Indies’ batting in the 50-overs format has struggled in recent series and Browne said the selection of the duo represented an opportunity for them to make their mark against quality opposition.
“They will be up against a good Indian team and they have an opportunity to show their skills and contribute to a stronger team performance.”
West Indies trail 0-1 in the series following their 105-run defeat in the second ODI at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain last Sunday.
They first game last Friday was abandoned as a no-result due to rain.
The Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium will host both games here, with the second one carded for Sunday.
SQUAD – Jason Holder (captain), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell.