The West Indies men's selection panel have announced a 15-man Test squad for the upcoming Test series against Zimbabwe, starting on February 4th in Bulawayo. The committee has recalled right-arm seamer Shannon Gabriel and left-arm spinners Gudakesh Motie and Jomel Warrican.
Gabriel last played a Test against Sri Lanka in November 2021 and has struggled with a hamstring injury recently. The 34-year-old was the joint-leading wicket-taker in the CG United Super50 Cup for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in November last year. His 161 Test scalps in 56 Tests are also the 12th joint-highest for the West Indies in the format.
Like Gabriel, Jomel Warrican's last Test appearance was also against Sri Lanka in December 2021. Gudakesh Motie, who only has one Test appearance for West Indies, made his debut in June 2022 against Bangladesh.
Jayden Seales and Anderson Phillip remain available for selection due to injuries, with the former also having undergone surgery.
Chief Selector Desmond Haynes stated that playing against Zimbabwe in their backyard won't be easy and has named two left-arm spinners, keeping in mind the conditions. Haynes also claimed Gabriel has excellent knowledge of the conditions in Zimbabwe, but lamented Seales' absence.
"This is the start of the international calendar for 2023 and we will hope to start with a win. We appreciate it won’t be as easy assignment as Zimbabwe, like most other teams in world cricket, play very well on their home soil on pitches that will support their style of play."
"We looked at the conditions we anticipate playing in, and have included two left-arm spinners who didn’t go to Australia in Motie and Warrican. With our fast bowlers, Seales has done extremely well for us since he started back in 2021, but with him unavailable we have decided that Gabriel would be best able to fill that role. He is an experienced bowler who has been at the international level for over 10 years and has knowledge of the conditions in Zimbabwe when we won there in 2017."
The first Test is from 4th-8th February, while the second is from 12th-16th February. Ahead of the series, West Indies will play a three-day practice game against a local side at Bulawayo Athletic Club.
West Indies won the two-game series against Zimbabwe in 2017. They registered a 117-run victory in the first Test, while the second ended in a draw.
West Indies' 15-man Test squad to face Zimbabwe:
Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood (vc), Nkrumah Bonner, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Raymond Reifer, Kemar Roach, Devon Thomas, Jomel Warrican.
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