West Indies have recalled batsman Kieran Powell for the first Test against Pakistan, who if picked, will play his first Test in nearly three years, last having played in 2014 against New Zealand. The hosts, on Monday (April 17), named a 13-man squad for the first Test at Sabina Park beginning on Friday, which also included the uncapped batsmen duo of Vishaul Singh and Shimron Hetmyer.
“We have a young Test squad which was admirably led by Jason Holder during the last series and, though there are some noticeable absentees, we believe that the players will give a good account of themselves especially in their own backyard,” said Courtney Browne, West Indies chairman of selectors. “We are happy to be able to give a recall to Kieran Powell for one of the opening slots, although he did not have the best regional first-class season,” Browne said. “He showed for the President’s XI that his experience can add value to our team.
“West Indies cricket has invested heavily in him over the years and with the void of openers within the Caribbean, the panel felt a need to fast track him through our A-Team programme last year with a view in helping him to bridge that gap.”
The 27-year-old Powell gave up the sport entirely after his last Test to pursue baseball in America, following the failure of which, he returned to West Indies and participated in the Caribbean Premier League with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots last year. In February this year, he finished with most runs in the Regional Super50 competition, scoring 513 in eight innings at 64.12, which earned him a call-up to the ODI sides for the series against England in March and then Pakistan.
From the squad that toured UAE for three Tests against Pakistan in October, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo and Leon Johnson have been dropped, along with Carlos Brathwaite and Jomel Warrican.
Vishaul Singh is the 28-year-old right-hander from Guyana, who like Powell, had a disappointing season in the domestic four-day competition. He managed to score only 317 runs, averaging 26.41. However, like Powell, who was unbeaten on 84 in the President’s XI game, Vishaul was unbeaten on 135 in the first innings. The skipper of the ICC Under-19 2016 World Cup-winning squad, Hetmyer, 20, was promising for Guyana in the four-day competition, scoring 496 runs in 15 innings at 38.15.
“Vishal has been one of the more consistent batsmen in the Regional 4-Day Tournament over the last few seasons and had a very good A-Team series against Sri Lanka last year,” Browne said. “His hundred over the weekend for the WICB President’s XI against the Pakistanis helped to fortify in our minds that he has a place in our squad. He gives us the option of a solid middle-order batsman around whom our more free-scoring players can bat.”
Jason Holder (capt.), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Vishaul Singh