ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Test opener Kieran Powell will get the opportunity for valuable match practice ahead of the upcoming Test series while Sunil Ambris and Jermaine Blackwood have been given a chance to impress selectors again, after being named in a 13-man Cricket West Indies President’s XI squad to face Sri Lanka starting today.
The left-handed Powell will captain the side, which also includes fast bowler Miguel Cummins and uncapped batsman Jahmar Hamilton, both of whom were last week named in the squad for the first Test.
Though Powell was included in the Test squad, he has been short of runs of recent, and the contest at the Brian Lara Stadium offers him the ideal chance to find some form ahead of the three-Test series.
An attractive stroke-maker, the 28-year-old managed just 142 runs from six innings on the three-Test series against England last year, and a mere 82 on two-Test tour of New Zealand last December where he suffered the ignominy of a dreaded “pair” in the last match.
He got two half-centuries against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last October but has not scored another half-century since his return to international cricket following a three-year self-imposed break.
While he captained West Indies A to a resounding series win over touring England Lions four months ago, his returns were again disappointing with 128 runs from five innings.
Meanwhile, Blackwood will hope to catch the eyes of selectors after being axed for the upcoming series. With just 15 runs from his last five Test innings, the attacking right-hander can keep himself in the selection frame with healthy scores against the Sri Lankans.
Ambris will taste high-level competitive cricket for the first time since fracturing his arm on the ill-fated tour of New Zealand.
Last year he forced his way into the Test squad with heavy scoring but then astonishingly trod on his wicket twice in scoring 25 runs in four innings against the Black Caps, to complete the most forgettable of Test debuts.
All-rounder Raymon Reifer, who made his Test debut against New Zealand, is also in the President’s XI line-up.
The match is the only warm-up fixture before Sri Lanka take on West Indies in the opening Test at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad starting next week Wednesday.