ST JOHN’S: Left-handed batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer and all-rounder Keemo Paul are back in the West Indies Test squad for their two-match series in New Zealand but Shai Hope has been dropped.

Both Bravo and Hetmyer opted out of the Test series against England in July that marked the return of international cricket following the coronavirus shutdown but are now part of a 15-man squad backed up by six reserve players.

Bravo’s highest Test score of 218 came at Dunedin in 2013.

Hetmyer and Paul were also included in the T20 squad for the three-match series that precedes the two Tests.

“The return of Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul will bolster the team,” said West Indies chief selector Roger Harper. “I expect that Darren will solidify the top-order, hopefully making it more productive, while Shimron gives the squad more options in the middle-order and it is another opportunity for him to show how good a player he is. Keemo provides another wicket taking seam option.”

All-rounder Andre Russell and top-order batsmen Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis have chosen not to participate in the tour.

Hope, meanwhile, a veteran of 34 Tests was omitted following a sustained poor run of form. He scored just 105 runs in six innings in three Tests against England. He’s averaged 19.48 since December 2017 and just 14.45 since February 2019, lowering his career Test average to 26.27.

“Shai is a player who I think has a tremendous future in Test cricket but at the moment he needs to reorganise his Test match game and get his batting in the longest version, back to its best,” said Harper.

All-rounder Kyle Mayers has also been included for the first time after starring in the recent Caribbean Premier League.

West Indies are due to play the first Test in Hamilton from Dec 3 to 7.

The second is scheduled for Wellington from Dec 11 to 15.

Both series are subject to clearance from the two teams’ cricket boards and the New Zealand government.

The T20 series is set to start on Nov 27 in Auckland, followed by games in Mount Maunganui on Nov 29 and 30.

Squads:

Test: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach. Reserves: Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua DaSilva, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales.

Twenty20: Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2020