West Indies World Cup squad: Andre Russell back, Shannon Gabriel named

West Indies have announced their final 15-man squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, thus completing the ten teams for this summer’s showpiece event in England.

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) selectors considered performances in IPL 2019 when picking their 15, and the big news was the return of Andre Russell after a strong run of form for Kolkata Knight Riders, which sets him up for his first ODI in nearly a year. Also named is the fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who has not played an ODI since 2017.

The 15-man West Indies squad for the World Cup was chosen by the new selection panel comprising CWI director of cricket Jimmy Adams, newly appointed coach Floyd Reifer and chairman of selectors Robert Haynes and unveiled during a press briefing at Sandals, Barbados on Wednesday.

The 15-man squad, captained by Jason Holder, is headlined by Chris Gayle who this year has made 424 runs in four ODI innings, at an average of 106 and strike-rate of 134.17. Gayle, 39, is West Indies’ second most successful ODI batsman after Brian Lara with 10,096 runs in 286 games. He has said that he will retire after the World Cup, which will be his fifth tournament.

But Russell’s return is the big news. The big-hitting allrounder has stacked up 392 runs at an average of 65.33 and strike-rate of 217.77 for KKR, while hitting a league-leading 41 sixes. Russell has also bowled well, taking seven wickets to lead KKR’s table, but has fitness issues.

Russell has not played an ODI since July 2018, and earlier this year informed CWI of his doubts over being able to play ODIs on account of a dodgy knee. But Russell’s sensational IPL hitting may be irresistible for the selectors.

While this month CWI named a depleted West Indies ODI side for a tri-series in Ireland before the World Cup, the squad for the World Cup is stronger for it includes Gayle, Russell, Evin Lewis, Carlos Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer and Oshane Thomas.

The debutant John Campbell opened with Gayle in the ODIs versus England in March, but did not do anything of note and has lost his place to Lewis.

The fast bowlers picked are Kemar Roach, Holder, Gabriel, Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell, while Ashley Nurse and Fabian Allen make up the spin quotient.

Nicholas Pooran is the reserve wicketkeeper in the World Cup squad, with the selectors likely to not want to burden Shai Hope too much.

Alzarri Joseph is sidelined with injury sustained during the IPL and was not in the the reckoning.

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