The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019 is in the air, and squads will be selected at some point in April to compete in that mega-event that commences from May 30th.
New Zealand have officially announced their squad for the event; and the West Indies first opponent in the World Cup, Pakistan, have shortlisted some 23 players who will play as many as 11 matches, nine One-Day Internationals and two T20Is before that World Cup berth with West Indies.
Prior to this mega cricketing event, the men in maroon will play a Tri-Nation Series in Ireland from Sunday May 5, 2019 at the Clontarf Cricket Club Ground in Dublin. With 28 days left for that tour, the West Indies squad for that upcoming event is likely to be announced before then.
The World Cup squad may likely feature players who played in the ODI Home Series against England, which Windies levelled 2-2. The top-order would include the dangerous Chris Gayle, who scored 424 runs in that series against England and had some solid innings in the ongoing Indian Premiere League. His fellow Jamaican opener John Campbelle, who played his maiden ODI series, may be the change in the Windies squad.
Campbelle, who was called up as a replacement for Evin Lewis, scored only 69 runs in his five-match series against England.
The 27-year-old Lewis, who is currently in the IPL with the Mumbai Indians franchise, will be the second Windies opener after Chris Gayle. The Trinidadian has had 35 ODIs under his belt, with 1010 runs, averaging 32.58, with a high score of 176* against England in England.
The West Indies middle order should not expect wholesale changes, unless the new administration led by new CWI president Ricky Skerritt announces those.
The likes of Shai Hope, Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer are first choice batsmen, but Hetmyer has had a poor season thus far with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In the next few weeks, he will be hoping to find form heading into the Tri-Series that is 28 days away, and the ICC Cricket World Cup.
If new batsmen are to earn a spot in the Windies ODI squad, the likes of Jonathan Carter and Jermaine Blackwood will be considered. Carter has had consistent regional performances, topping the CWI Super50 batting charts with most runs, while he followed up that with stellar performances in the just concluded CWI Regional 4-Day championships. Carter has had 351 runs in the Super50 at an average of 50.14, while he scored 689 runs in the 4-Day competition.
Blackwood, another Regional performer, notched up useful runs in the Regional arena, scoring 320 runs at an average of 40 in the Super50, and 465 runs in the 4-Day competition.
Nicholas Pooran, who made his appearance in the series against England, will also have his eyes set on the World Cup prize.
The likes of Rovman Powell and Keemo Paul, who did not feature in that series against England, will be seeking places. Paul, who is currently in the IPL, will be hoping to make his way into the Delhi Capitals starting XI and show the Windies selectors his worth. Paul naturally swings the ball, and the conditions in England will suit his style of bowling.
The spin bowling department will raise questions, since Ashley Nurse and Devandra Bishoo have had poor outings in recent times. Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas and Windies skipper Jason Holder have had good performances behind them. Will Windies test quick Shannon Gabriel book a ticket to England?
With this new era in Windies cricket, it would be interesting to see who makes the ODI squad to Ireland and the ICC Cricket World Cup, as selections will be made in the month of April.