Next 3 rounds crucial for selection ahead of England series
2018-19 CWI Regional 4-Day Championships…
By Clifton Ross
England will be visiting the Caribbean in a few weeks as they prepare to engage in the biggest home series in the past decade and with the Regional 4-Day in progress; a number of players will be vying for spots in the Windies Test team.
Two rounds have been fully completed with the reigning champs Guyana Jaguars sitting on top of the table, with a few of their usual players peaking from an early stage. The England series in the Windies backyard will be encouraging for players across the region that might have been overlooked in the past or simply have now begun to catch the selector’s eye.
Joe Root and his boys are scheduled to commence battle with the Caribbean side
from January 23 to March 10, however with such a mega tour ahead it is likely that the English boys will touch down in the Caribbean much sooner as they will need a possible tour match a few sessions to get fully acclimatized.
A pair of tour games will suffice for England’s game time as they tackle the Windies President’s XI side from January 15-17 and the second from the 18-20; both at the Three W’s Ground in Barbados. Then sides will then kick off a lengthy war in the Caribbean with the Three-Test series first; the series which will make contenders up their games as they will want to squeeze into the mix.
The 10-round tournament, still in its premature stages bowled off Round 3 bowled off on Friday January 4th and with two more rounds to go before the tour officially gets underway; the Windies Test team will under much watch following their losses to series India and Bangladesh in the latter stages of 2018.
Looking forward, it is likely that the selectors could ring in a few changes for the home series. There will be a few players such as Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope; both of whom fetched the side during the Asian series and climbed the ICC
ranks are shoo-ins for the England series across all formats.
Kraigg Brathwaite, the Windies stand-in skipper during Jason Holder’s injury lay-off, failed miserably by his usually high-standards in the past few Tests. But with the Barbados Pride fielding a strong team in the ongoing 4-Day; inclusive of Holder and other Windies players; the opener could use the next few rounds to bat himself back into some form ahead of the series.
Guyana Jaguars all-rounder Keemo Paul and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo are two other players that will pop up in the Test team with Bishoo being the Windies most senior spinner over the past few years. Paul, needless to say will want some match time in the longer format having starred in the T20 series by delivering a match-winning 5-wicket haul.
Other players who could have automatic selection include Roston Chase, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Holder and possibly Darren Bravo. But two rounds could be enough for some big name players to make strong impressions with bat or ball and probably oust a few of those who were under the microscope
in recent times.
After the first two rounds, Jaguars batsman and Windies Test player Vishaul Singh sits as the leading run-scorer for his country with 168 from 4 innings and two fifties. Singh, who will be eyeing a return to the Test side is also the second leading run-getter overall behind Leewards’ Keacy Carty who has 184 runs.
Carty’s 114 is the current highest individual score of the championships, making his name one of those which could likely feature in the selectors pool should he continue his form. The leading bowlers, all of which are spinners to date are familiar to the selectors, with the leader Shane Shillingford who has 17 victims, being among those discarded players of the 2000’s who managed to make an impact during their time.
Nikita Miller, a regular in the Windies teams over the years, Jomel Warrican fresh off the recent Asian tours and Guyanese Veerasammy Permaul who has played for the Windies Test and T20 teams are among the leading wicket-takers with 10 or more scalps.
It will be a jostle in the bowling department, with Holder seemingly fit again, Gabriel rearing to go and Roach the pack leader. Alzarri Joseph could also feature in the England series as the selectors are high on his talent while Guyana Jaguars
players like Sherfane Rutherford, the Windies newest addition, Raymon Reifer a huge prospect in the Windies Test team over the recent times could all be in line for possible drafts.
With heaps and bounds of talent in the Regional pool and a number of discarded players who could still make an impact, it will be an overall battle for the limited spots in the Windies Test team. Players like Jags skipper Leon Johnson and Chris Barnwell, both of whom tasted international cricket in the past even the future of batting in Windward Island’s Tarryck Gabriel who is on the leading run-scorers to date; will all be eyeing Windies colors and the chance to represent in their backyard against the English.
Meanwhile, the final round before the England tour commences and possibly the last chance to make an impression bowls off from January 17 and with Windies having not yet named a squad and seeking to still find the right combination in their Test team; much will be left to the players over the next few rounds leading up to the series to see what can be done in order to possibly break into the Test team.