ICC World Cup 2019: Analyzing West Indies' squad
Cricket West Indies have announced their 15-man provisional squad for the World Cup 2019. The squad is as follows:
Jason Holder (c), Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell and Shimron Hetmyer.
Chris Gayle will appear in his fifth World Cup, Andre Russell, Darren Bravo and Kemar Roach in their third, and Holder in his second.
Sunil Narine was not considered for selection due to a ligament tear in his finger which put his ability to bowl 10 overs in doubt. Alzarri Joseph was also not considered due to a muscle injury and arm dislocation sustained in the ongoing IPL season.
There was no place for Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell and Marlon Samuels in the squad.
The squad selected is a settled one and is indicative of an approach of sustained aggression, with the explosive capabilities of Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis and Andre Russell counterbalanced by the accumulative approach of Shai Hope and Darren Bravo in the batting lineup.
Gayle and Lewis are the designated opening batsmen, followed by Hope as wicket-keeper and Bravo at No. 4, with Hetmyer, Holder, Russell and Brathwaite to follow.
Nicholas Pooran has been selected as a back-up batsman and wicket-keeper.
Gayle's selection was assured following his 424 runs against England earlier this year, but Lewis will go into the World Cup short on match practice. Bravo also made his ODI return in the same series against England and impressed with a more aggressive approach.
Russell's return as a batting all-rounder was perhaps prompted by his blistering IPL form. He has scored 392 runs in 10 innings for KKR, and looks virtually unstoppable. That said, he will have to be carefully managed given his injury problems.
Kemar Roach and Jason Holder will lead a bowling attack predicated on pace, with Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas all selected for their ability to bowl fast. Thomas and Cottrell impressed in the ODI series against England with 9 and 7 wickets respectively; Cottrell's left-arm angle complements the right-arm angle of the rest of the pace bowlers very well.
Off-spinning all-rounders Fabian Allen and Ashley Nurse are the only spinners selected, with Devendra Bishoo not considered.
Barring injury to any of the players selected, this will be the squad that goes to the World Cup. While it is an experienced squad that can challenge the more favored teams, the lack of a wrist spinner on the flat pitches of England would be a concern, although that could possibly be negated by the pace bowlers' effectiveness.
Managing player fitness will also be crucial, with Russell, Roach, Lewis and Gayle either recovering from or dealing with injury concerns.
Prediction: Competing for a semi-final spot with Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan.