ST JOHN’S, Antigua – All-rounder Roston Chase and stroke-maker Shamarh Brooks have been named in a 30-man training group for a high performance camp starting today (Sunday) in St Lucia, just ten days after being hit with a contract snub by Cricket West Indies.
The pair, along with first choice wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, all lost their central retainers for Tests, and were three of 11 players axed from the list of central contracts for the year starting July 1.
Dowrich, 29, who abruptly left last December’s Test tour of New Zealand and has not featured since then, has not been called up to the camp.
Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and the fast-bowling pair of Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph will be unavailable due to their commitments in the ongoing County Championship in England while leading all-rounder Jason Holder has been rested and will join the squad at month end instead.
The camp, which will be staged at the Darren Sammy National Stadium, is in preparation for South Africa’s two-Test tour in St Lucia bowling off June 10.
South Africa also play five Twenty20 Internationals in Grenada immediately afterwards.
“This camp is very important for our preparation for the upcoming Test Series against South Africa and for the rest of our busy and exciting summer,” said head coach Phil Simmons, who will oversee the camp.
“We will continue the work which we began last year in England, to further develop our Test team into a force to be reckoned with in world cricket.
“We welcome the good news of a rise to sixth in the ICC Test rankings. However, this is just the beginning of our journey and we know we have lots of hard work ahead of us.”
Several players without international experience have been included, with selectors calling up the likes of fast bowlers Jayden Seales, Marquino Mindley, Anderson Philip, Nial Smith and Keon Harding, along with leg-spinning all-rounder Keron Cottoy and batsmen Paul Palmer and Kavem Hodge.
Left-hander Kieran Powell, who has not played for West Indies in nearly three years and recently questioned his repeated omission from the international squad, has also been included.
Director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, said the opportunity to have a large group together augured well for preparation.
“The pandemic has made it necessary to assemble larger squads during the pre-tour phase to allow our preparation to be facilitated within one bio-secure bubble,” said the former West Indies captain.
“This has turned into a positive for us by creating a much-needed level of focus and intensity leading into tours while also allowing for players to make a case for selection if they perform well in the warm-up games.
“Given the lack of regional four-day cricket so far this year, these camps have taken on even greater importance in our Test match preparations.”
In addition to training, the camp will comprise two ‘Best vs Best’ inter-squad matches, in order to provide match practice for the squad.
All players arriving in St Lucia will be required to produce two negative COVID-19 PCR tests, and will then be tested throughout the remainder of the camp.
West Indies take on the Proteas in the first Test from June 10-14 and in the second from June 18-22.
SQUAD: Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Keron Cottoy, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Jahmar Hamilton, Kavem Hodge, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Paul Palmer, Veerasammy Permaul, Anderson Phillip, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales, Nial Smith, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr., Jomel Warrican.