Cricket West Indies on Monday announced the return of explosive batsman Chris Gayle and allrounder Marlon Samuels into the 15-member Windies squad for the five-match One-Day International series against England. Speedster Jerome Taylor also made a comeback for the Maroon Brigade after a gap of more than a year.
Sunil Ambris, the uncapped right-handed opener from Guyana, was also given a call up in the side while other notable omissions from the squad were Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite.
Courtney Browne, the chairman of selection panel, though confirmed Dwayne was considered for selection but isn't fully fit yet. "With regards to the selection of the ODI squad, the panel welcomes back Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, who will both add value to our batting and help with the nurturing of the young batsmen in the team," he said.
"Both Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo have declined to be considered for ODIs in England. Narine has however confirmed his desire to play 50-over cricket again but has asked to play in our Regional Super50 before he is considered and Darren said he was not available for selection. Dwayne Bravo said he is still not 100% fit, but is looking at a possible return to international cricket next year."
Ambris was part of the Windies squad that took on India at home for the last three ODIs but he didn't get a game. He has played 35 first-class games and has 1622 runs at an average of 28.96. His List A record though is much better as he averages 51.71 after 20 games and has scored 724 runs.
Gayle last played an ODI in the World Cup 2015 quarterfinal clash against New Zealand while Samuels's last outing for the national side came in October last year against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
Brathwaite continues to be left out of the side despite being the Twenty20 International captain. Kieran Powell, Jonathan Carter and Roston Chase too have been axed from the side. Dwayne Bravo has been playing for the Trinbago Knight Riders, having returned from a long hamstring injury lay-off that he picked up during the last edition of Big Bash League.
Darren Bravo, who ruled himself out of contention, is however eligible for selection after offering an apology to the board after his outrage on Twitter.
After the three-Test series, Windies play a one-off T20I before travelling to Manchester for the first ODI on September 19. The remaining four ODIs will be played in Nottingham, Bristol, London and Southampton on September 21, 24 27 and 29 respectively.
Windies are looking to boost their chances of earning a direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup after having slipped to the ninth position in the ODI rankings. However, they will be forced to play the qualification tournament if Sri Lanka win at least two matches in their five-match series at home against India. Sri Lanka have 88 points while Windies have 78. Two wins for Sri Lanka will take them to 90 points, putting it beyond Windies's reach no matter how the ODI series in England pans out.
Squad: Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder (captain), Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed (Vice Captain), Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor and Kesrick Williams.