Kolkata: West Indies, regining champions of T20 World Cup in 2016, recalled senior pace bowler Ravi Rampaul as a surprise weapon when they named an explosive squad for their title-defence in the UAE in October-November.
If the call-up for 36-year-old Rampaul, who last played in a T20 against Sri Lanka in 2015 was a surprise, there were shocks in equal measure as allrounder Carlos Brathwaite - who swung the match their way in the last final with four sixes off the last over - and mystery spinner Sunil Narine could not make their way into the 15-member squad.
‘‘Ravi will boost the team’s wicket-taking options in the power-play and the middle phase and will provide another option for the death overs,” Roger Harper, the chief selector for Cricket West Indies (CWI) said.
Roston Chase is another notable name in the 15, earning a T20I call-up for the first time, thanks largely to his form in the Caribbean Premier League.
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“Roston Chase has shown that he is a very capable T20 player,” Harper said. “He has shown the ability to knit the innings together while still scoring at a fast rate with a low dot-ball percentage. He will be an excellent foil for the explosive players in the team.”
A two-time champions in this format (2012, 2016) , whose players are easily most sought-after in franchise leagues all over the world, have an array of marquee names like the ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, captain Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Andre Russell along with Nicholas Pooran, named the vice-captain.
West Indies get their title defence underway against England in Abu Dhabi while the other teams in Group 1 are South Africa, Australia and two qualifiers from Round 1. Only the top two finishers of the six will reach the knockout stages.
Three spinners in SA squad
South Africa have named three frontline spinners in their squad but left out opening batsman Janneman Malan. Keshav Maharaj, Bjorn Fortuin and the number ranked bowler in the world in the T20 format, Tabraiz Shamsi, will be the frontline spin options for the team, with Markram able to offer a part-time option.
The side will be led by Temba Bavuma, who is currently injured but likely to open the batting with swashbuckling Quinton de Kock. Aiden Markram was selected as third-choice batsman at the top of the order of the side who are chasing their first world T-20 title.
West Indies squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas and Hayden Walsh jr.
Reserves: Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder and Akeal Hosein.
South Africa squad: Temba Bavuma (captain), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.
Reserves: Andile Phehlukwayo, George Linde, Lizaad Williams.