Cricket West Indies' chief selector Roger Harper has revealed that spinner Sunil Narine had earlier indicated that he wasn't ready to return to the internationals. He also added that the 39-year-old Fidel Edwards was recalled to the side as he can offer like-for-like attributes for Oshane Thomas.
After many first-choice players missed out on the white-ball fixtures in Bangladesh, owing to the novel Coronavirus, most of them returned for the home T20Is against Sri Lanka starting from March 3. However, Sunil Narine wasn't named in the 14-man squad that saw the comeback of the 41-year-old Chris Gayle and fast bowler Fidel Edwards to the fold.
Cricket West Indies' lead selector Roger Harper has revealed that Narine's non-selection was due to the fact that he wasn't ready to return to the international stage as he's still readying himself for the highest-level. Narine last featured for the Windies against India in 2019 in T20Is.
"Sunil Narine had indicated earlier that he is not ready to return to international cricket. He's still fine-tuning his game and getting himself ready. From that perspective, he wasn't considered for this series," Roger Harper said, reported ESPNCricinfo.
Seasoned campaigner Fidel Edwards was named in the 14-man squad for the three-match T20I series. Harper revealed that it was done as he was a like-for-like replacement for Oshane Thomas as Edwards has both the pace and the firepower needed.
"As we build towards the defence of our T20 [World Cup], we're looking to put together the sort of squad and team with the sort of players that will best serve us in that defence. What a player like Oshane Thomas offered us is the sort of firepower that can take wickets early and at the end, and really unsettle batsmen."
"With him not being available and not performing at the sort of level we expected of him, we looked for the type of bowler that can offer us that. When we looked around the only bowler we thought offered us that sort of pace and firepower and penetration at this time was Fidel Edwards."
One of the notable things that emerged from the selection for the Sri Lanka series was also how CWI emphasized the need to have better fitness standards and those who didn't meet them were not picked. The likes of Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer and Oshane Thomas were overlooked owing to their failure to reach the 'minimum fitness standards' laid out by the board.
WI's director of cricket, Jimmy Adams made it clear that fitness will be a key criterion in the selection process even going ahead and it will have to be maintained.
"The policy asks for a minimum standard in certain aspects of fitness testing. It's pretty simple, and it's something all the players are aware of: failure to get to [the minimum standard] makes them unavailable for selection," Adams said.
"This is not a conversation that we like having with players. For me, the minimum standard isn't something that should apply to an international player. But we draw the line there before there are other considerations outside of just a person's ability to bat, bowl or field. If you start talking about making it provisional on whether someone has made a score or taken wickets, it doesn't take us as a team in the direction that we want to go."