Ahead of the first Test, West Indies have confirmed that Shai Hope has made a comeback to the setup alongside Kieran Powell while Darren Bravo and Shannon Gabriel have missed out. On the other hand, the selectors handed Jayden Seales a place in the squad, after his performance in the practice game.
After his drop last year, wicketkeeper Shai Hope has marked a return to the Test setup after being named in the 13-man squad on Tuesday for the Test series against South Africa. Alongside Hope, left-handed opener Kieran Powell also makes his return in the Test setup, for the first time in over three years, with his last Test against Bangladesh in 2018.
The selectors also sprung a surprise with the inclusion of the 19-year-old Jayden Seales after an injury to Shannon Gabriel forced him to sit out of the series. Darren Bravo was once again ignored by the selectors for the series, alongside Jomel Warrican. The host of players - Kemar Roach, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, and Rahkeem Cornwall - are set to start the first Test as the bowling unit.
Seales first made an appearance in the U-19 World Cup last year, where he picked up ten wickets for the West Indies side. Following that, the pacer was also impressive in the intra-squad warm-up game, picking up 4/40 in the second innings to impress the selectors, for the series against South Africa.
"Jayden Seales is young, very enthusiastic and has a big heart. In the 'Best v Best' matches he bowled with pace, got movement and has displayed the ability to take wickets. We think he is capable of adding potency to the bowling attack," said CWI chief selector Roger Harper about Seales' inclusion, reported ESPNCricinfo.
On the other hand, Harper added that Powell’s inclusion in the setup would ensure that there is added quality and depth in the batting department. He also cited that Hope’s performance in the warm-up game has also ensured his return in the setup after his poor display earlier in the longest format.
"Kieran Powell we know is a very capable batsman who we expect to add quality and depth to the batting department. He put himself in the mix with his performance in the Best v Best match. Shai Hope has performed very well in the red ball matches he has played, following on the back of his highly successful One-Day International series against Sri Lanka, so he has forced his way into the squad by performance," said Harper.
Squad for the first Test: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-capt), Nkrumah Bonner, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales