West Indies has named a 15-man squad for the three-match Test series against Misbah-ul-Haq's Pakistan side which begins with the day-night Test to be played at the Dubai International cricket stadium from October 13. Despite Pakistan playing in their adopted ‘home’ settings of the United Arab Emirates, West Indies, the reigning World T20 champions, were the firm favourites heading into the three-match T20 series against an opposition which has been struggling in the shorter formats of the game.
However, Sarfraz Ahmed’s side outplayed their much-fancied opponents with considerable ease to showcase how dangerous they can be in the UAE. The third and final match of the T20 series will be played on Tuesday before the two teams engage in a three-match ODI series.
The attention turns to the longest format of the game and despite the 2-0 loss suffered at the hands of a Virat Kohli-led Indian side at home, the West Indies selectors have decided to persist with the young side with left-arm orthodox bowler Jomel Warrican drafted into the squad that was selected for the rain-affected fourth Test between India and West Indies at the Port of Spain.
Despite picking up only 11 wickets from four Test matches – the latest one being the Sydney Test against Australia at the beginning of the year where he picked up two wickets – Warrican is likely to find a spot in the playing eleven with the conditions in the UAE expected to help the spinners.Apart from leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, Warrican is the only other specialist spinner in the West Indies squad.
Shannon Gabriel and Miguel Cummins will lead the pace attack for Jason Holder’s side who have persisted with the Under-19 World Cup-winning pace spearhead Alzarri Joseph who was dropped for the Port of Spain Test. It will be interesting to see how both sides line up, however, with the match to be played with the pink ball under floodlights going to be a first-ever such experience for both sides.
While Pakistan have had their worries in the shorter formats of the game, their fortunes in the Test format have been quite a contrast with the side sitting on top of the ICC Test rankings after a spirited performance in England which saw them play out a thrilling 2-2 series against the hosts.
Yasir Shah will be the biggest threat for Pakistan who will also be monitoring the performance of left-arm spinner Imad Wasim in the remaining matches in the shorter formats before making a call on his inclusion in the Test squad.
West Indies squad: Jason Holder (capt), Kraigg Brathwaite (vice-capt), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Leon Johnson, Alzarri Joseph, Marlon Samuels, Jomel Warrican.