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World Cup 2019

West Indies included Andre Russel in World Cup squad

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West Indies included Andre Russel in World Cup squad
Photo: Collected A-A+

|| CF Correspondent ||

West Indies have named all-rounder Andre Russell, who has played only one one-day international since 2015, in their World Cup squad.

The 30-year-old, a Twenty20 specialist in recent years, is included but all-rounder Marlon Samuels misses out.

Opener Chris Gayle, West Indies' second highest ODI run-scorer, also features in the 15-member World Cup squad.

The tournament in England and Wales runs from 30 May to 14 July.

Russell, who completed a one-year anti-doping whereabouts ban in January 2018, played an ODI against Bangladesh in July last year but a knee injury has limited his appearances since then - although he is currently starring in the Indian Premier League.

"I spoke to Andre a few days ago. He has a few niggles. He has some pain behind his knee but he assured the selection panel that he'll be okay for the World Cup," Robert Haynes, the interim chairman of CWI, said.

"He's scored a lot of runs and we'll be using him as a batting all-rounder," interim head coach Floyd Reifer said of Russell. "He's doing very well in the IPL. We have got to manage his injuries and have three to four days rest between the games."

Pace bowler Shannon Gabriel, who played the most recent of his 18 ODIs in 2016, has also been recalled.

All-rounder Fabian Allen was preferred to spinners Devendra Bishoo and Sunil Narine. "Based on the new selection policy approach which allowed us to consider a number of players that have not regularly appeared in the side over the last two years, we had a wide base of talent from which to choose," Haynes said. "There were a number of tough calls we had to make to settle on our squad of 15, including ensuring there was some continuity in the side, but we believe we have chosen a strong squad of players taking into consideration such factors as experience, fitness, team balance, current form and conditions."

Allen is the only spin-bowling option beside their main spinner Ashley Nurse. Devendra Bishoo missed out on the selection while Sunil Narine wasn't considered because of fitness."We had to look past Narine because of his fitness issue but I know, definitely, he wanted to play for the West Indies side," Haynes said.

"We had a lot of dialogue with Sunil Narine. He assured that he would have loved to play in the World Cup but unfortunately, he has an injured finger. He's getting treatment after every game in IPL and he's not capable at the moment to bowl 10 overs. He's struggling to bowl even four overs in the IPL."

Jason Holder leads the side. The openers in the squad are Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis, who last featured against Bangladesh in July last year. John Campbell was the incumbent opener for West Indies but selectors have clearly gone for experience.

"Evin assured the selection panel that he's doing a lot of training in India. We must remember that we have two games in England before the World Cup starts, so we can get him in that," Haynes said of Evin's lack of international match practice in the lead-up.

"If you look at his track record, he's done very well opening the batting with Chris Gayle and we believe that he's somebody we are going to see progressing as the tour goes on."

On Nurse, Haynes said that the spinner's ability to bowl at the death gave them the confidence to fill the side with all-rounders instead of a back-up spin option. "We all believe that with Ashley Nurse's experience, and with him able to bowl the death overs, he has the ability to get the wickets and keep it tight in England."

Alzarri Joseph, who was out of IPL because of a shoulder injury, misses out. Oshane Thomas, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell and Kemar Roach are the fast bowlers in the squad. Nicholas Pooran has been picked as the wicketkeeper.

Teams can make changes to their squads before 23 May - but can only alter them after that in the event of injuries, with any changes needing to be approved by the International Cricket Council.

West Indies play Ireland and Bangladesh in a triangular one-day series from 5-13 May, before starting their World Cup campaign against Pakistan at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on 31 May.

Six players - Sunil Ambris, John Campbell, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich and Raymon Reifer - are in the tri-series squad but have not made the cut for the World Cup.

West Indies World Cup squad: Jason Holder (capt), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.

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