Tue | Jan 26, 2021

Slim pickings force J’cans back into Windies squad

Published:Saturday | October 17, 2020 | 12:14 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer

Jamaican opener John Campbell was named among a squad of 15 players for the two-Test tour of New Zealand next month.

Lead selector Roger Harper said Campbell, who scored just 84 runs in six innings in the recent tour of England, got the approval after lengthy considerations about other options.

“There were a few other players who were considered, and there was a lot of debate about this in our meetings,” he said. “In the end, the panel decided they would give John Campbell another opportunity to cement his place in the team and show what he can really do.”

Harper said that there has been some cause for concern about the opening position for the West Indies in recent times, but for now, Campbell will continue in the role with fellow opener Kraigg Brathwaite of Barbados.

Campbell has not shone since his debut in January 2019, scoring a Test-best of 55 runs in nine matches. Harper says the critical opening and number three position in the team must come good if the regional side is to pose any threat in New Zealand.

“It is an area that has been concerning us for a while,” he said. “The opening pair and the number three spot is important because that is where you depend on those partnerships, the first- and second-wicket partnerships, to really build a platform on which the team can build big totals.”

Jamaican batting all-rounder Rovman Powell and fast bowler Oshane Thomas were named in a 14-man squad for the three Twenty20 (T20) internationals against the Kiwis.

Powell, who captained the Jamaica Tallawahs to the semi-finals of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), had modest numbers in this year’s tournament, scoring just 106 runs in 11 innings.

Thomas also had a lukewarm CPL tournament, where he featured in just three matches while taking just one wicket.

When asked about the inclusion of the underperforming duo, Harper said the selectors had little choice.

“Persons who were competing for these places didn’t do much better, and what we looked at was that those guys were in the squad from the previous tour,” Harper said. “I think the guys who were pushing for their places would definitely have to outperform them, and I am afraid during the CPL, we didn’t have any real terrific performances, and the batting left quite a bit to be desired.”

Batsman Jermaine Blackwood is the only other Jamaican in the Test squad that toured England in the summer to return, with Nkrumah Bonner set to travel with the team as part of a reserve group.

The other Jamaicans in the T20 squad are Sheldon Cottrell, Brandon King, and Fabian Allen. The three T20 Internationals and two Test matches are expected to run from November 27 to December 15.

Test Squad

Jason Holder (captain)

Jermaine Blackwood

Kraigg Brathwaite

Darren Bravo

Shamarh Brooks

John Campbell

Roston Chase

Rahkeem Cornwall

Shane Dowrich

Shannon Gabriel

Shimron Hetmyer

Chemar Holder

Alzarri Joseph

Keemo Paul

Kemar Roach

Test Reserves

Nkrumah Bonner

Joshua Da Silva

Preston McSween

Shayne Moseley

Raymon Reifer

Jayden Seales

T20 International Squad

Kieron Pollard (captain)

Fabian Allen

Dwayne Bravo

Sheldon Cottrell

Andre Fletcher

Shimron Hetmyer

Brandon King

Kyle Mayers

Rovman Powell

Keemo Paul

Nicholas Pooran

Oshane Thomas

Hayden Walsh Jr

Kesrick Williams