ST JOHN’s: Off-spinner Sunil Narine, who was reported twice for suspect bowling action during the Champions League T20 in India last year, was today named in West Indies' 15-member squad for the World Cup beginning next month, but former captain Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard were left out.
Narine was not barred from bowling in international cricket -- he was suspended from doing so in BCCI-organised tournaments only, but his selection today would mean that he is set to return to international cricket after pulling out of the West Indies tour of India last October. This will also be Narine's first time at a World Cup.
All-rounder Jason Holder has been retained as captain after he led the team in the South Africa ODI series. Opener Chris Gayle is the most experienced player in the squad.
West Indies Cricket Board had said earlier that Narine had opted to rehabilitate himself, and his selection today could mean that the selectors were confident that he has made the necessary adjustments.
"I believe we have selected a very good team which will do West Indies proud at the World Cup," said Clive Lloyd, the West Indies chairman of selectors.
"We have a good mixture of some good seasoned players and some good youngsters who will fly the West Indies flag in Australia and New Zealand. If they play to their potential I am quite sure we will do very well. I have really high hopes in this team - I believe they can do something special."
There was no World Cup reprieve for Bravo who was axed after the team's controversial decision to quit October's tour of India four matches into the five-game one-day series over a pay dispute.
Although Lloyd made a general comment on the composition of the squad, he did not touch on why Bravo and Pollard were dropped. The duo, along with Darren Sammy were originally not part of South Africa ODI series, but Sammy was subsequently included and also found a place in the World Cup squad. Marlon Samuels, who claimed after the pull-out from the India tour that he had wanted to complete the series, has been named the vice-captain.
West Indies play their opening World Cup match on February 16 against Ireland before going on to face Pool B rivals, defending champions India, South Africa, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates.
West Indies Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Marlon Samuels, Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor.