Jomel Warrican took 7 wickets in Frank Worrell Trophy 2015-16    Getty Images
Jomel Warrican took 7 wickets in Frank Worrell Trophy 2015-16 Getty Images

The act of a visiting team playing warm-up matches with the host team’s President’s XI has been a ritual in cricket. Generally, an almost full-strength visiting team takes the field against the team that mostly consists of A team players from the hosts’ side. India, on their visit to West Indies, are playing similar tour matches with West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President’s XI. To say, though India are the favourites for the forthcoming four-Test series, the performance of their warm-up opponents impressed the critics so much that they are made to reconsider their opinion. READ: Roston Chase: All you need to know about West Indies’ new pick against India

Then came the surprising decision from the WICB. West Indies announced their squad for the first Test of the series, which included many expected names while leaving out two, Jomel Warrican and Shai Hope. The worst part? Hope was the highest scorer of the match with an unbeaten 118 and Warrican was the highest wicket-taker with two wickets, and he also scored a 50 not-out.

Let us have a look at West Indies’ squad for the first Test to find the probable logical (!) explanations behind Warrican and Hope not being selected.

The squad comprises of three proper spinners, all of whom have right-arm off-break action. While the presence of two names, Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood can still be accounted for, one name that surprises is Roston Chase. With no left-arm spinner at all in the squad, the West Indies selectors have not gone for Warrican, who happens to have decent number of international appearances. Chase’s economy in First-Class is an attractive 2.51, which is the only fact to support the decision.

Talking about international appearances, Warrican’s last encounter in Tests has been quite fruitful for the player, though not for his team. West Indies lost the Frank Worrell Trophy 2-0 to Australia, but Warrican did live up to the expectations put on him. The player scalped 7 wickets from 3 matches in Australia and was the only West Indian bowler among the top five wicket-takers of the series. With an unbeaten half-century in the first warm-up match, he proved to be more deserving to be in the squad, promising an all-round performance and variation with his orthodox left-arm spin. However, WICB selectors think the other way.

The selectors may have a lot to say in their defense for not selecting Hope, though. While the batsman happens to have a First-Class average of 35.82, he failed while given an international platform, averaging at 15.54. Hope was given only one scope in the Frank Worrell Trophy, in the final Test after West Indies had already lost the series to Australia, and he scored 9 runs. But, looking at how he performed against an Indian bowling consisting the likes of Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma, one cannot help but wish he had been there in the first Test.

Not only these two, the absence of Kemar Roach from the squad was also something that was unexpected. Surely, the WICB selectors, being trusted and given the responsibility to choose a squad of one of the major cricketing sides for a crucial tournament, have their own strategies in mind. Now, only the first Test against India will reveal the real reasons, which a common man cannot figure out.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)