Selectors keep faith with England 15 for Zimbabwe

Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo could play a key role in the third and deciding test at Lord’s today between the West Indies and England. (Photo courtesy of Cricket West Indies)

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – West Indies selectors have retained faith in the 15-man squad which toured England during the summer, naming an unchanged unit for the two-Test tour of Zimbawe starting later this month.

All-rounder Jason Holder will once again take charge of the Caribbean side, marking his sixth Test tour of duty as captain.

Despite losing the recent three-Test tour of England 2-1, the Windies captured the imagination with a stunning five-wicket victory at Headingley, to level the series.

And chief selector Courtney Browne said the players had shown the necessary qualities which were key to the side’s further development.

“The dedication, commitment and focus in their preparation and during the series in England showed immense character for such a young team in very difficult conditions against World-class competition,” Browne said.

Batsman Shai Hope … proved a revelation on the tour of England.

“The lessons learnt on that tour augurs well for the individual players and the team’s continued development as a whole and we wish them well on the tour of Zimbabwe.”

West Indies suffered an innings and 209-run crushing inside three days in the first Test at Edgbaston before rebounding at Leeds, and then losing the final Test at Lord’s by nine wickets.

Despite the series loss, one of the positives of the tour was the emergence of Shai Hope who plundered hundreds in both innings at Leeds. The 23-year-old finished the series with 375 runs at an average of 75.

However, while opener Kraigg Brathwaite gathered 283 runs at 47, the remainder of the batting struggled with no other player passing 200 runs.

Roston Chase, who plundered over 400 runs in the preceding series against Pakistan, scraped 80 runs at an average of 13 while Kyle Hope, Shai’s older brother, endured a wretched series with a meagre 41 runs from his six outings while averaging just six.

Meanwhile, seamer Kemar Roach topped the bowling with 11 wickets in his first Test series in nearly two years, and will lead the attack again in Zimbabwe.

West Indies have never lost a Test to Zimbabwe, winning six of the eight career meetings, and will fancy their chances against a side which has played just 13 Tests inside the last four years, winning just two and losing their last nine.

The two teams last met in the Caribbean four years ago when the hosts swept the two-Test series.

West Indies open the upcoming tour with a three-day match at the Bulawayo Athletic Club before taking on Zimbabwe in the opening Test at Queens Sports Club from October 21-25.

The second Test will be played from October 29 to November 2 at the same venue.

SQUAD – Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite (vice-captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.

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