Gabriel in, Narine out Zimbabwe Tests
West Indies cricket selectors have sprung a surprise by omitting "mystery" off-spinner Sunil Narine ahead of the two- match Test series against Zimbabwe starting next week. However, they have recalled offspiner Shane Shillingford and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
Shillingford and Gabriel were named in a 13-man squad released yesterday for the first Test against Zimbabwe starting on Tuesday at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Narine, a fixture in the Windies' Twenty20 and 50-overs teams, found the going tougher in his five Tests, taking 15 wickets at an average of 48.06.
However, in Trinidad and Tobago's current Regional Four-Day fixture against Guyana at the Queen's Park Oval, he ran through a strong batting lineup in the first innings, including among his six wickets, West Indies batsmen Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Sarwan, who had a poor tour of Australia during the recent ODI series has also been left out of the first Test squad. He has struggled for form despite managing a century during the just-ended ODI series against Zimbabwe at the national stadium in Grenada.
Sarwan went to Australia as a replacement for middle order injured batsman Marlon Samuels. But the selectors have now recalled Samuels after his recovery from an eye injury that forced him out of the Australian Big Bash last December. At present, the Jamaican is representing the Sagicor High Performance Centre in a three-day tour match against the Zimbabweans. Gabriel's call-up follows his impressive showing in the Caribbean T20 series in January, where he was named Man-of-the-Match in the finals against Guyana.
Shillingford, who had emerged as the regional side's frontline spinner before Narine's emergence in 2012, is back on the team after he was controversially excluded from the Bangladesh tour last year.
West Indies squad:
Darren Sammy (Captain), Denesh Ramdin (Vice-captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford.