West Indies World Cup squad: ODI recalls for Russell, Pollard and Narine?

All but one country remains to have not submitted its 15-man squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup ahead of the April 23 deadline to do so – West Indies.

Today is the last day for cricket boards to send in their squads, and in regards to West Indies the big question is whether IPL 2019 form will dictate Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection when the men who matter meet.

The 15-man West Indies squad for the World Cup will be chosen by the new selection panel comprising CWI director of cricket Jimmy Adams, newly appointed coach Floyd Reifer and chairman of selectors Robert Haynes.

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 will be stronger.

WHO ARE THE CERTAINTIES?

West Indies skipper Jason Holder heads this list, as do Chris Gayle, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Kemar Roach and Darren Bravo.

Chris Gayle 2019 World Cup
Chris Gayle’s ODI form has been outstanding heading into his final World Cup. © Getty

WHO HANGS IN THE BALANCE?

The debutant John Campbell opened with Gayle in the ODIs versus England in March, but did not do anything of note. Evin Lewis is another opening option, but he has not played ODIs since July 2018.

The likely choices to team up with Roach as a potent fast bowling trio are Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell who both did well against England in March. Alzarri Joseph is sidelined with injury sustained during the IPL and may be out of the reckoning.

As regards the spin bowling options, two of Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo and Fabian Allen will be chosen.

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

WHAT ABOUT IPL PLAYERS?

One West Indian has dominated the IPL so far – Andre Russell. The big-hitting allrounder has stacked up 392 runs at an average of 65.33 and strike-rate of 217.77 for Kolkata Knight Riders, while hitting a league-leading 41 sixes. Russell has also bowled well, taking seven wickets to lead KKR’s table, but has fitness issues.

He 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.

Andre Russell World Cup
Andre Russell has left a mark in almost all of KKR’s games so far. © BCCI

An outside chance for a recall is Kieron Pollard, who has not played an ODI since 2016. Playing for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, Pollard has hit 195 runs at a strike-rate of 175.67. Speaking after he powered MI to a thrilling last-ball win over KXIP this month, Pollard said he had not ruled out a return to ODIs.

Then there is Sunil Narine, who in January reportedly told CWI that he did not see himself being able to bowl ten overs in an ODI on account of doubts over his action. The allrounder last played an ODI in October 2016, but could find himself the subject of discussion regarding the World Cup. Playing for KKR, Narine has claimed six wickets at economy of 7.62 and scored 132 runs as opener at a strike-rate of 169.23.

WHO ARE THE WILDCARDS?

Marlon Samuels will hope to get picked for fourth and final World Cup, now that he has recovered from his knee injury. Jonathan Carter was recalled to West Indies’ ODI squad for the Ireland series, and may get the nod ahead of Campbell. Shannon Gabriel could also be named as one of the fast bowlers.

Probable West Indies World Cup squad: Jason Holder (capt), Chris Gayle, John Campbell/Jonathan Carter, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Carlos Brathwaite, Andre Russell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo,