WEST Indies Cricket Board (WICB) selectors have rested captain Darren Sammy and star batsman Chris Gayle for the upcoming one-day international (ODI) series against Zimbabwe in the Caribbean, starting on Friday.
REPORT BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The all-rounder, who leads West Indies in every format of the game, has been granted time off for the one-day series only and will be replaced at the helm by seasoned all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
Sammy has played every game for the West Indies side for the last two years and is coming off a disappointing tour of Australia where West Indies suffered a 5-0 drubbing in the one-day series.
There will also be no Gayle for the entire ODI series after the leading opener asked to be excused from selection.
“Gayle has asked to miss the ODI series and has been granted permission accordingly,” said a WICB statement on their official website. No reason was given for Gayle’s decision to skip the series.
Bravo will now lead a predictable 13-member squad announced on Sunday for the first two of the three-match series.
The squad sees the return of Test wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin and the axeing of Devon Thomas who experienced an ordinary tour of Australia with the gloves and bat.
There still is no return for elegant right-hander Marlon Samuels who missed the Australia tour through injury.
Fast bowler Jason Holder was also left out, with the selectors going in for the extra spinner in left-armer Veerasammy Permaul who had a fine first-class game for Guyana against Leeward Islands last week, taking a match haul of 9 for 115.
All three ODIs will be played at the National Stadium in Grenada starting on Friday to February 26. Following the ODI series, West Indies also host Zimbabwe in two Twenty20 (T20)s and two Tests.
The Zimbabwe cricket team, whose preparations at home had been overshadowed by off-the-field controversies, arrived in Grenada yesterday ahead of their first warm-up match of the tour against the University of West Indies Vice-Chancellor’s XI on Wednesday.
Alan Butcher’s men, however, left without captain Brendan Taylor, who had to remain behind due to illness.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday, Taylor said he was now fit and raring to go and was looking forward to the upcoming tour.
Taylor and his men will be hoping to cause some upsets against a West Indies side that is currently low on confidence after enduring a disappointing tour of Australia which ended last week.
They lost all five one-dayers before clinching a morale-boosting 27-run win in a one-off T20 international in Brisbane in their last outing.