GROS ISLET: West Indies recalled veteran batsman Chris Gayle on Thursday for the first two one-day internationals against England in preparation for this year’s World Cup.
The hard-hitting, 39-year-old Gayle last played for West Indies during a home series against Bangladesh last July and could renew an explosive opening partnership alongside Evin Lewis.
Lewis and Gayle both missed the recent ODI series in India and Bangladesh but have been included as part of a 14-man squad that saw left-handed batsman Nicholas Pooran called up for the first time.
West Indies and England will contest five one-dayers following the conclusion of the Test series, in which the hosts hold an unassailable 2-0 lead ahead of the finale in St Lucia on Saturday.
“As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top-ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team,” said West Indies chairman of selectors Courtney Browne.
“This allows us to identify any areas that need addressing relating to selection and also helps the coaching staff to fine tune their game strategy.”
Gayle holds the West Indian record for most ODI hundreds with 23 and is their second-leading run scorer in the 50-over format with 9,727 runs — trailing only Brian Lara (10,405).
His 215 against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup also represents the highest limited-overs score by a West Indies batsman.
“We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI cricket for the first time,” said Browne.
“He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order.”
Browne said fast bowler Shannon Gabriel would be considered for later in the series, although experienced batsman Marlon Samuels is unavailable due to a knee injury.
Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas
1st ODI – February 20, Bridgetown
2nd ODI – February 22, Bridgetown
3rd ODI – February 25, St George’s
4th ODI – February 27, St George’s
5th ODI – March 2, Gros Islet.