Mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine was notably absent from the West Indies 13-man Test squad for the first Dhaka Bank Test against Bangladesh, starting next Friday at the Arnos Vale Multiplex in St Vincent.
The squad, which will be captained by Denesh Ramdin, was selected by the new West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) selection panel chaired by Clive Lloyd and released yesterday via a media statement which also pointed out that two players opted to play in the Champions League Twenty20.
Apart from its representative in the Barbados Tridents’ squad, the West Indies have seven other players in the Champions League which runs from September 13 to October 14 in India. Among the other West Indian players in the Champions League are Jamaica all-rounder Andre Russell, who is listed in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ squad, Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons, both of whom are in the Mumbai Indians team, and the Chennai Super Kings trio of Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith and Samuel Badree.
Russell, Pollard and Badree are yet to make their respective Test debuts. Bravo has not played Test cricket since December 2010 while Smith has not played in the longest version of the game since 2006. Simmons’ last Test was in 2011.
The WICB stated: “Two players who were considered for selection to the Test squad have opted to play in the Champions League which has an ICC approved window on the international schedule. The players’ decisions will not have any deleterious effect on consideration for future West Indies selection.”
Narine played in last week’s three-match One-Day International series against the Bangladeshis, taking four wickets. In June, Narine was overlooked for the three-Test series against New Zealand, after opting to remain in India with eventual IPL champions Knight Riders for the IPL final, instead of returning for a preparation camp in Barbados.
He had been mandated to join the camp by June 1, ahead of the first Test in Jamaica which bowled off June 8. At the time, the WICB Director of Cricket Richard Pybus said that the Windies First Policy required all players to make themselves available for team preparations.
Narine, who made his Test debut two years ago in England, has played just six Tests and taken 21 wickets at an average of 40. The squad for the first Test will be led by wicketkeeper Ramdin and includes batsman Jermaine Blackwood and fast bowler Jason Holder, both of whom have played one Test each, against New Zealand earlier this year.
Blackwood hit a half-century in the second Test at the Queen’s Park Oval before being dropped for the final game of the series where Holder also struck a fifty on debut before his home crowd at Kensington Oval.
SQUAD: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Sulieman Benn, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kirk Edwards, Shannon Gabriel, Christopher Gayle, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Shane Shillingford, Jerome Taylor.