West Indies Announces Squad For First Test Match Against India, Star Player Returns

The West Indies cricket team is under immense pressure after a disappointing performance in the ODI World Cup qualifiers. As they prepare to face India in a two-match Test series, followed by an ODI and T20I series, Cricket West Indies has announced a 13-member squad and two reserve players for the first Test. The team management hopes to bounce back from their recent setback, and including new faces brings excitement and fresh possibilities.

Cricket West Indies has given maiden call-ups to left-handed batters Kirk McKenzie and Alick Athanaze to rejuvenate the squad. Both players showcased their talent and maturity during the recent ‘A’ Team tour of Bangladesh, earning them this opportunity to represent the West Indies at the highest level. Their inclusion highlights the selectors’ belief in their abilities and potential to make significant contributions.

All-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall has returned to the West Indies squad after being left out since November 2021. The selectors’ decision to bring him back shows their confidence in his skills and the value he can add to the team. Cornwall’s inclusion will strengthen the spin bowling department, providing valuable options and adding depth to the squad.

One notable absence from the squad is left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, who is currently undergoing rehabilitation. Although his absence creates an opportunity for other spinners, his experience and skills will be missed. Motie’s presence in the team has been influential in the past, and his return to full fitness will be eagerly awaited by fans and selectors alike.

Chief selector Desmond Haynes explained the rationale behind the squad selection, emphasising the impressive batting performances of McKenzie and Athanaze during the ‘A’ Team tour. Haynes believes they deserve this opportunity to prove themselves at the international level. The selectors also expressed confidence in the capabilities of spinners Jomel Warrican and Rahkeem Cornwall, who have previously represented the West Indies in Test matches.

“We were very impressed with the approach to batsmanship of McKenzie and Athanaze on the recent ‘A’ Team tour of Bangladesh. These two young players got good scores and played with great maturity, and we believe they deserve an opportunity. We are without Motie, who is doing his rehabilitation, and this has created an opportunity for Warrican and Cornwall in the spin bowling department. They have both played at Test match level before and can do the job,” chief selector Desmond Haynes said.

“We had Jayden Seales here in the camp, and he has made good progress during his rehab from surgery. However, we felt he is not yet quite ready to return, and we don’t want to risk him at this stage. Kyle Mayers was also considered, but he has some niggles, and the precaution is not to have him in the rigours of a five-day match at this stage,” he added.

Despite progressing in his recovery from surgery, fast bowler Jayden Seales was deemed not yet ready for a return to competitive cricket. The team management decided to exercise caution and prioritise his long-term fitness. Similarly, Kyle Mayers was not included due to minor injuries, intending to maintain his recovery in the demanding five-day format.

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The West Indies team is eager to make amends for failing to qualify for the ODI World Cup. Their previous triumph against England in the World Test Championship series showcased their potential and ability to compete against top-tier teams. They will aim to replicate that success against the formidable Indian team and regain their winning momentum. The players, led by captain Kraigg Brathwaite, will be determined to prove their mettle and make a strong statement in the upcoming series.

West Indies Squad – Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood, Alick Athanaze, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kirk McKenzie, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican

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