West Indies veteran batsman Chris ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle will not get his desired farewell from international cricket before his home crowd, as he is not included in the squad for the one-off T20 International (T20I) against Ireland at Sabina Park, Jamaica on Saturday.
Gayle was also omitted from the T20I team for the series against England from 22-30 January at Kensington Oval in Barbados. The 42-year-old Jamaican wanted to play one final West Indies match at home, after their abysmal campaign at the T20 World Cup in October.
In the squad announced by Cricket West Indies, Keiron Pollard returns, having missed the tour of Pakistan with a niggling hamstring injury he sustained at the World Cup, to lead the One-Day International and T20 sides in the white ball series while COVID-19 has ruled two key players out of selection.
In his absence, Nicholas Pooran captained in the T20Is against Pakistan while Shai Hope was set to lead the side in the ODIs before a postponement due to COVID.
Former skipper Jason Holder is also back in both the ODI and T20I squads while Fabian Allen has also been passed fit to take part in the T20Is against England. There is no recall for all-rounder Andre Russell. Obed McCoy will be unavailable as he completes his rehabilitation from a shin injury while Evin Lewis and Anderson Phillip are unavailable due to recent positive COVID tests.
Head coach Phil Simmons said: “We have tried to maintain the general make-up of the squads from the Pakistan Tour before Christmas, with the captain and some senior players coming back in. COVID-19 has also played a part in the final make-up of the squad. The challenges in the next couple of months are getting the young players in both squads to not only improve on their skills but maintain the attitude and desire we saw in Pakistan.
“We do need to start the year on a high. And we know both Ireland and England have very good teams, so we expect a very strong challenge as we look to improve our chances of automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023 and building the T20 team for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2022.”
T20Is vs Ireland and England
Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen (England T20Is only), Darren Bravo (England T20Is only), Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr.
COVID-19 Reserves: Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph, Devon Thomas