On Friday, West Indies selectors decided not to grant Chris Gayle a sentimental farewell Test on his home ground when the charismatic opener was excluded from the squad for the two-match series against India. The self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ played the last of his 103 Tests in September 2014.
However, during the ICC World Cup 2019 this year that he was open to playing one more Test before bringing down the curtain on his international career. Gayle has made 7,214 runs in the longest format with the highest score of 333 but his career in recent years has been confined to white-ball cricket and franchise T20 leagues.
Despite the second of the two-Test series against India being played at Gayle’s home ground of Sabina Park in Jamaica from August 30-September 3, it looks like his final international appearance in the Caribbean will instead be next Wednesday in the third ODI in Port of Spain.
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The interim West Indies selection committee has kept faith with practically the squad that earned a 2-1 series victory over England earlier this year in the Caribbean, except injured pacer Alzarri Joseph and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican. Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall could make his long-awaited Test debut, starting with the opening match August 22-26 at his home Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua.
Talking about the same, chief selector, Robert Haynes said, “Rahkeem has been performing consistently over a long period of time and has proven to be a match-winner, so we believe his elevation to the Test squad is merited at this time. Alzarri is undergoing remedial work and we are monitoring his recovery, but we do not think he is ready yet to last five days of a grueling Test match.”
West Indies ‘A’ team skipper, Shamarh Brooks is the only other uncapped player included in the squad. All-rounder Keemo Paul has been included as a replacement for Test captain Jason Holder.
Test squad: Jason Holder (c), Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rakheem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach