West Indies have named a 13-man squad for the first 2 of the 5 T20Is, starting June 26 at the National Cricket Stadium, St George’s, Grenada.
Veteran left-handed batsman Chris Gayle is also part of the Kieron Pollard-led side. Gayle had made his return to the side in their previous home T20I series with Sri Lanka, where he batted at number 3. Evin Lewis, who had scores of 28, 6, and 21 in the same T20I series, has been retained after smacking a fifty and a hundred in the ODI series.
Nicholas Pooran has been named Pollard’s deputy; Dwayne Bravo and Fidel Edwards are other senior players in the squad. Andre Fletcher, who last represented the West Indies in November last year, is also in line contention for a place in the final eleven.
In preparation for the T20 World Cup later in the year – in the UAE – West Indies will host South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan for 5 T20Is each.
West Indies 13-man squad for first 2 T20Is vs South Africa:
Kieron Pollard (C), Nicholas Pooran (VC), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair.
Andre Russell will add that ‘X’ factor: CWI Chief Selector
Andre Russell last featured in international cricket in March 2020, on the tour to Sri Lanka before the pandemic hit the brakes on world cricket. He misses their tour of New Zealand for an injury sustained during the IPL 2020.
Cricket West Indies Chief Selector Roger Harper labels the Jamaican all-rounder as the “‘X’ factor” in the side, and is effusive in speaking about the impact Andre Russell can have in a game.
“Andre Russell will add that ‘X’ factor to the team. He is an impact player with both bat and ball and lends greater depth in both departments. The aim is to build on the performance against Sri Lanka earlier this year, to build confidence while determining our best squad and team as we run into the ICC T20 World Cup,” Roger Harper, the chief selector said.
Andre Russell recently played in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021, but in just his first game of the tournament, he suffered a concussion and was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament.
Before that he featured in the now-suspended IPL 2021 in India. Playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders, the right-hander was in good form, smashing 163 runs in 7 innings at a strike rate of 155.24 in addition to 7 wickets with the ball.