Harper: WI can keep title with ‘rub of the green’; Rampaul, Roston, Gayle in 15-man squad—Holder in reserves

September 10, 2021 in Sports

Thirty-six-year-old fast bowler Ravi Rampaul and 29-year-old all-rounder Roston Chase today both successfully forced their way into the 15-man West Indies squad for the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

West Indies are the defending champions and only two-time winners of the title—after triumphs in Sri Lanka 2012 and India 2016. Captain Kieron Pollard’s men begin their campaign to become the first team to manage a hat-trick of titles on 23 October, when they face England in Dubai.

Neither Rampaul nor Chase featured in the West Indies’ T20 team for some time but both staked their claims at the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 cricket tournament, where they top the bowling and batting stats respectively.

Conversely, 41-year-old batsman Chris ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle and 36-year-old opener Lendl Simmons held on to their squad places, despite a recent dip in form. However, the big omission was former captain and talented 29-year-old all-rounder Jason Holder who was named among the squad’s four reserves and can only see action at the World Cup in the case of injury to one of the selected 15.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) lead selector Roger Harper said Rampaul, who featured in the 2012 World Cup but has not received a Windies call-up since 2015, is a positive addition to the squad.

“Ravi Rampaul is a highly experienced bowler who performed well in the last CG Insurance Super50 Cup and the current Hero CPL to date,” Harper told CWI Media. “He will boost the team’s wicket-taking options in the powerplay and the middle phase and will provide another option for the death overs.”

Harper also commended Chase for earning his pick.

“Roston Chase has shown that he is a very capable T20 player,” said Harper. “He performed well in the CPL in 2020 and has been outstanding in the 2021 edition so far. He has shown the ability to knit the innings together while still scoring at a fast rate with a low dot-ball percentage.

“He will be an excellent foil for the explosive players in the team.”

Seven members of the West Indies’ 15-man squad are over 30 years old—the average age of the team is 30.6—and just two players, pacers Obed McCoy and Oshane Thomas, both 24, are below the age of 25.

Harper believes the team’s know-how will be an asset in the UAE.

“The squad is one with good depth and strength in all departments,” he said . “There is tremendous T20 experience along with World Cup-winning experience which should stand the team in good stead. This squad is made up of many world-beating players, who once knitted into a world-beating team, and they will be extremely difficult to beat.

“I expect the team to do very well and with the ‘rub of the green’, I think the team has a good chance of defending the title.”

For theopening ‘Super 12’ phase of the World Cup, WI are grouped with England, Australia, South Africa and two still undetermined qualifying teams. Of those six nations, only two will advance to the knockout semi-final round.

West Indies 15-man squad:

Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.

Travelling reserves:

Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein.