West Indies are currently high on confidence after winning a Test series against England for the first time in 10 years. The swag and confidence is back in the Windies outfit and they have decided to add plenty of flair and aggression for the ODI series as well. Chris Gayle, who last played an ODI against Bangladesh in July 2018, is back in the West Indies side for the first two ODIs against England. Gayle’s last knock was in Basseterre, St Kitts and he smashed 73 off 66 balls which included six fours and five sixes as West Indies lost the match by 18 runs.
In the last couple of seasons, Gayle has not played much of Test or ODI cricket for the West Indies and has primarily played as a Twenty20 freelancer across the globe. He declined selection for the tours to India and Bangladesh as West Indies suffered, losing in all formats in India and only managing to win the T20I series in Bangladesh. Gayle, who has scored 9727 runs in 284 games at an average of 37, is currently playing with the Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League where he has struggled with 203 runs at an average of 18.45.
Along with Gayle, the squad also sees the inclusion of Evin Lewis and Nicholas Pooran in the side. Pooran, who is also playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, has been the leading run-getter for the Sylhet Sixers, averaging close to 50 and having a strike-rate of close to 160. Pooran’s big-hitting has gotten the eye of many franchises, including Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League who bought him for Rs 4.2 crore in the IPL 2019 auction.
Lewis, who smashed two Twenty20 International centuries against India, missed the tours to India and Bangladesh but is making big progress in the Bangladesh Premier League with a century for Comilla Victorians against Khulna Titans. Speaking on the selection, Windies Chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said in a statement, "We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI squad for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order.”
West Indies will play five ODIs against England beginning on February 20 in Barbados. The second match will also take place at the same venue on February 22 while the third and fourth ODIs will take place in Grenada on February 25 and 27. The final ODI will take place on March 2 in St.Lucia and the tour will conclude with three Twenty20 Internationals.
ODI squad: Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (C), Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas