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Evin Lewis returns to West Indies squad for T20 World Cup

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West Indies have recalled Evin Lewis to their squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia. Lewis last played international cricket at last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE, and had since missed out on West Indies’ squads for fitness reasons.

“Someone like Evin Lewis, we all agree that he’s our best one-day cricketer, he’s done so well for us over the years,” Haynes told the commentator Ian Bishop in an interview on the sidelines of Wednesday’s CPL game between Jamaica Tallawahs and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots. “We had a meeting with him, and he’s committed to West Indies cricket; he told us that he’s committed to West Indies cricket, and I believe he should be given the opportunity.”

“Sometimes we have to move on and appreciate when people come to us and explain their position to us, and if we agree, we give them a chance,” Haynes later said in a press conference.

There is no room in the squad for the allrounder Andre Russell, who, like Lewis, last featured for West Indies during last year’s T20 World Cup. Russell has had a quiet time in CPL 2022 so far with Trinbago Knight Riders, particularly with the bat, managing a top score of just 17 in four innings.

“We had a meeting with Andre Russell earlier in the year,” Haynes said. “We’re still not convinced yet, he’s not performing as well as we would like to see him in the competition. I think in the situation with Andre Russell, we’ve just decided to move on, and look for someone who’s in form, and doing well in the T20 format.”

Haynes said Allen was unfortunate to miss out with the squad having room for only one left-arm spinner in Akeal Hosein.

Sunil Narine, who last played for West Indies in 2019, doesn’t feature in the squad either. “I did not get any notice from Narine regarding his availability to play. There were conversations that the captain [Nicholas Pooran] was having with Narine, and from all reports, it seemed that he was not interested,” Haynes said when asked about Narine.

A surprise inclusion in the squad is the legspin-bowling allrounder Yannic Cariah, who made his West Indies debut during last month’s ODI series against New Zealand, but is uncapped in T20Is, and his experience in the T20 format is limited to four games, the last of which came during the 2016 Caribbean Premier League. Cariah is not contracted to a CPL team this season.

The selectors have picked Cariah ahead of Hayden Walsh, who had been the preferred wristspin option over recent months.

“When we look at consistency, we don’t feel that Hayden is consistent enough,” Haynes said. “We don’t write off anybody, because Hayden is somebody we have invested in, and we believe that he still stands a chance of playing for the West Indies, and we hope again that he is another one that will continue to do well in the CPL and give himself a chance to be selected.”

Haynes was confident Cariah could do a job in T20 cricket despite his limited experience of the format.

“I think Yannic has impressed us from the time we picked him for the A team,” Haynes said. “And then we gave him the opportunity to play against New Zealand in the 50-overs competition, and I think going to Australia, I know we’ve got a lot of confidence in him, we think that he’s bowling well enough that [he] can play in the T20 format. It’s a bit unfortunate that he’s not in the CPL, we have no control over that, but we think that he is a guy who we feel can do a job for us. I don’t think you can underrate his batting either.”

Apart from Cariah, the squad includes one other uncapped T20I player in Raymon Reifer, the left-arm seam-bowling allrounder who has played three Tests and five ODIs. Reifer has been in excellent form for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the ongoing CPL, scoring 171 runs in four innings at an average of 57.00 and a strike rate of 143.69.

Among other seam-bowling allrounders, there was no room for Romario Shepherd – Haynes termed his exclusion “another close call” – while Dominic Drakes was unavailable due to a knee injury.

“His bowling has gone off a little bit and he is very good in the backend with six-hitting. It was a close thing, but because of the composition of the side, he missed out on this occasion,” Haynes said of Shepherd’s exclusion.

CPL form has also led to a recall for top-order batter Johnson Charles, who last played a T20I in December 2016. Charles is presently the second-highest run-getter in CPL 2022, with 227 runs in six innings at an average of 45.40 and a strike rate of 136.74.

Charles, Haynes said, would fill the role of reserve wicketkeeper in West Indies’ squad behind Pooran.

“Judging from his performances in the CPL, he [Charles] is experienced as well, he had a tour of Australia, he’s done well down there, and also we are looking at someone who can be the second keeper. That is why we went for Johnson Charles,” Haynes said.



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