ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Vincentian stroke-maker Sunil Ambris has been rewarded for his recent prolific scoring and named in a West Indies 15-man squad for the two-Test tour of New Zealand starting later this month.
The 24-year-old, who played a single One-Day International in the five-match series against England last September, is the only new face in the unit, replacing Kyle Hope who failed in successive series against England and Zimbabwe recently.
Ambris smashed 608 runs at an average of 43 for Windward Islands Volcanoes in the last first-class season and was one of the leading scorers in the Regional Super50 tournament earlier this year when he pummelled 423 runs at an average of 70.
Last month, he tipped the scales heavily in his favour with two hundreds in the three-match “Test” series against the touring Sri Lanka A, as he emerged the leading batsman in the series with 278 runs at an average of 55.
“Sunil has replaced Kyle Hope in the squad, and this is on the basis of his consistent performances across formats and his outstanding returns for the Windies ‘A’ team in the ‘Test’ series against Sri Lanka ‘A’,” chief selector Courtney Browne said.
“This type of consistency is very welcomed by the panel.”
Hope has struggled in international cricket, gathering just 41 runs in six Test innings on a difficult tour of England.
The 28-year-old right-hander also failed to produce against minnows Zimbabwe, managing just 60 runs in three innings.
“Kyle is encouraged to return to the first-class championship and turn in the strong performances his talent suggests he can deliver,” Browne said.
Apart from Hope, selectors have kept faith with the unit that lost 2-1 to England last August but impressed in winning the Caribbean side their first Test on English soil in 17 years with the stunning result at Headingley.
They completed a 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe last week, winning the first Test by 117 runs before being held to a draw in the final match, and Browne said this series win was underpinned by a strong collective effort.
“The panel congratulates the players and the entire team management unit on the series victory in Zimbabwe,” the former Test wicketkeeper said.
“It was a strong team effort and highlighted by those players that did not do as well as expected on the recent tour of England, playing critical roles in the team’s success.
“Their success augurs well for the selection process and the philosophy of continuity which has underpinned our selection for the tour of New Zealand, and not the chopping and changing mentality.”
West Indies will undergo a camp in Brisbane starting next week before travelling to New Zealand where they open that tour with a three-day match against New Zealand A starting November 25.
The first Test bowls off December 1 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, with the second starting eight days later at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
SQUAD – Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite (vice-captain), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.