West Indies recall Darren Bravo, Alzarri Joseph for first England Test
Darren Bravo last played against Pakistan in the UAE in 2016. (AFP Image)

Darren Bravo, the West Indies batsman, has been recalled to the national side for the first Test against England starting in Barbados next week. Bravo, because of a dispute with the governing body, was ruled out of contention, having last played a Test in the UAE in 2016. Besides Bravo, young fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has also been handed a return along with uncapped batsmen John Campbell and Shamarh Brooks. (ALSO READ: Key is staying fresh – Jos Buttler)

Bravo, with an experience of 49 Tests in which he has 3400 runs will be expected to offer some stability in West Indies’ fragile middle order which has come under fire for their string of inconsistencies, particularly in the longer format. He returned to West Indies’ limited-overs set-up late last year but it’s really the Test matches where the side needs to pull their socks. Having started the year with a win against Bangladesh last year, they endured series defeats in India and Bangladesh.

“After a difficult Test Series in Bangladesh late last year the opportunity presents itself for our team to pick itself up,” said Courtney Brown, West Indies’ chairman of selectors. “Although a tough series against England is anticipated, home turf has always been a place where our team has made strides.”

Joseph last played a Test in August 2017 against England but was ruled out due to a stress fracture on the back. He seems to have fully recovered but the board has added Oshane Thomas as a cover for the fast bowler. As for Campbell, besides being an opening batsman, he is also a handy legspinner. With 3037 runs in 55 First-Class games, the 25-year-old is expected to open the batting with Kraigg Brathwaite.

“With the return of Darren Bravo, who will add value to a batting department, we expect to see marked improvement,” added Browne. “Young, exciting, fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, who was sidelined by injury, returns to the squad and Shamarh Brooks has been elevated for his solid first-class performances over the last three years.

“John Campbell the incumbent A team opener, who has played first-class cricket for a number of years, will open the batting after a good first-class season in 2018. The panel takes this opportunity to wish captain Jason Holder and his team all the best in the upcoming series.”

England have won just one Test series in the Caribbean in the past 50 years, in 2004, although the West Indies were beaten 2-0 in Bangladesh at the end of last year.

“The Wisden Trophy has got incredible history and the West Indies have got a proud record to defend. England have only won one Test Series on West Indies soil in 50 years. We hope that our fans will once again become the team’s twelfth man and rally to create the noise and colour that gives the squad the support they deserve and register a win in what will be a great battle,” said CEO Johnny Grave.

West Indies squad: Jason Holder (capt), Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican, Oshane Thomas