Windies host Australia, South Africa for ODI series
(Reuters) - West Indies will be without several of their top players for the triangular one-day international tournament against South Africa and Australia as the region's cricket board sticks with a policy that ostensibly rewards players for competing domestically.
Batsman Chris Gayle and all-rounders Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy, all members of the triumphant Twenty20 World Cup winning team of two months ago, will be missing from the event that starts on Friday in Guyana.
Back in come hard-hitting batting all-rounder Kieron Pollard, from injury, and Sunil Narine, the off-spinner who returns to the international fold after spending six months working on his bowling action after it was deemed illegal.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has adopted a policy of selecting only players contracted to play in their domestic 50-over competition.
That, at least, is the theory, but Pollard and Narine also missed the domestic competition early this year and their selections for the tri-series unleashed a withering attack on the board from Gayle.
When it comes to West Indies cricket, politics and trading of accusations between players and officials is never far away.
"@KieronPollard55 & #SunilNarine selected for WI Tri-Series. How is that possible @westindies?" Gayle tweeted recently.
While the likes of Gayle will be missed, World Cup heroes Marlon Samuels and Carlos Brathwaite head a strong batting line-up that should keep opposition bowlers on their toes.
The West Indies take on South Africa in the opening match in Georgetown on Friday, before they face Australia at the same venue on Sunday.
All 10 matches will be day-night affairs, a Caribbean first in the international game.
For South Africa, the series will offer a chance of redemption for captain AB de Villiers, after a disappointing World Twenty20 campaign.
However, he roared back into form with a strong series of performances in the Indian Premier League competition, and will attempt to carry that over into the international arena.
Australia, meanwhile, rarely put a bad team onto the field these days, and their latest squad should be no exception.
Captain Steve Smith leads a line-up that includes hard-hitting batsman David Warner, fresh off from captaining Sunrisers Hyderabad to the IPL championship.
June 3 - West Indies v South Africa (Georgetown, Guyana)
June 5 - West Indies v Australia (Georgetown, Guyana)
June 7 - Australia v South Africa (Georgetown, Guyana)
June 11 - Australia v South Africa (Basseterre, St Kitts)
June 13 - West Indies v Australia (Basseterre, St Kitts)
June 15 - West Indies v South Africa (Basseterre, St Kitts)
June 19 - Australia v South Africa (Bridgetown, Barbados)
June 21 - West Indies v Australia (Bridgetown, Barbados)
June 24 - West Indies v South Africa (Bridgetown, Barbados)
June 26 - Final (Bridgetown, Barbados)
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)