The West Indies squad for the white ball series against South Africa in March was named a few days ago and there was a lot of talk about the squad in the region.
However, former Jamaica national cricket head coach Junior Bennett says he can be satisfied with the controversial squad named.
Head coach Phil Simmons resigned after the West Indies were knocked out of the 2022 World Twenty20 in the preliminary round, and then captain Nicholas Pooran also decided to leave his Captaincy.
Accordingly, Shai Hope and Rovman Powell were appointed captains of the One Day International and Twenty20 teams last week. At the same time, the most controversial incident was the selection of fast bowler Shannon Gabriel in the 15-man ODI squad announced last Monday.
Gabriel, who turns 35 in April, took 15 wickets to power the Trinidad and Tobago Red Army to the final of the regional Super 50 Cup late last year. His last ODI was against Sri Lanka in the 2019 World Cup in England.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer about the squad, Bennett said it was a balanced squad that was efficient and consistent in all aspects.
“I think it is a fairly balanced squad, and I’m just hoping that we can execute our skills efficiently and consistently in all areas.”
“Gabriel had a very good Super50 tournament. He bowled well and forced his way into the squad with those performances.”
Bennett, who is the chief selector of Jamaica’s senior team, emphasized that having separate captains for both versions would reduce the burden on any individual.
“I think Shai and Rovman are good choices to captain the two versions of our white-ball teams. With both versions having separate captains it will ease the burden off any one individual.”
He justified not picking one of the best fielders in the region, spinner Fabian Allen.
“Fabian was not selected for the [T20] World Cup [last year] and he was not available for the Super50, so I am not surprised he was not selected.”
West Indies in South Africa schedule:
February 21-23 – Warm-up match vs SA Invitational XI (Benoni)
Feb 28-March 4 – 1st Test (Centurion), March 8-12 – 2nd Test (Johannesburg)
March 16 – 1st ODI (East London), March 18 – 2nd ODI (East London), March 21 – 3rd ODI (Potchefstroom)
March 25 – 1st T20I (Centurion), March 26 – 2nd T20I (Centurion), March 28 – 3rd T20I (Johannesburg)
Squads: ODI – Shai Hope (C), Rovman Powell (Vc), Shamarh Brooks, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran , Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith
T20I – Rovman Powell (C), Kyle Mayers (Vc), Shamarh Brooks, Yannic Cariah, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Obed McCoy, Nicholas Pooran, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith