World Cup: Dujon picks Pollard over Darren Bravo; Paul ahead of Oshane
West Indies great former wicketkeeper Jeffrey Dujon says selectors should have gone with Trinidadian big-hitting batsman Kieron Pollard instead of left-handed compatriot Darren Bravo for the regional team squad for the upcoming ICC 50-over World Cup.
The 31-year-old Pollard, who played the most recent of his 101 One-Day International (ODI) matches back in 2016, has been in good Twenty20 (T20) form for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL), smashing 228 runs in 12 innings.
He so far has a highest score of 83 and averages 32.57 with a strike rate of 158.33.
Bravo, 30, who spent two years on the sidelines after butting heads with the previous Cricket West Indies administration, only recently returned to the regional team set-up for England’s tour of the Caribbean.
During the Test series — which West Indies won 2-1 — the left-hander appeared rusty, averaging only 11.8 in five innings, however, his even 50 on a very challenging pitch was a pivotal knock as the hosts took an unassailable 2-0 lead.
He was more fluent in the ODIs, gathering 133 runs in four innings at 44.33 as West Indies tied the series 2-2.
“I would have gone with Pollard. On the basis of his form, I don’t think Bravo was very convincing the other day — he looked short of cricket,” Dujon, 62, told the Jamaica Observer in reference to the West Indies’ 15-man squad for the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
Dujon, a former outstanding wicketkeeper and elegant batsman who played 81 Tests and 169 ODIs between 1981 and 1991, said he would have chosen the control of swing bowler Keemo Paul over the express pace of Oshane Thomas.
“Keemo Paul, if fit, should be included. I think Thomas — even though he has pace — for that type of cricket I think he is still a little inexperienced,” said Dujon.
Paul, 21, who is also a useful lower-order batsman, was injured during the recent England series, but has since recovered to play in the IPL. In 11 ODIs he has claimed 11 wickets at an average of 45.27 and an economy rate of 5.88.
Thomas, 22, was a standout in the ODI series against the touring Englishmen, snaring nine wickets in four innings, including a career best 5-21. Overall, he has played nine ODIs, accounting for 15 victims at an average of 27.53 and economy rate of 7.22.
Dujon weighed in on the inclusion of seam bowling all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, one of the most talked-about selections in the squad.
The Jamaican said he backs the choice of Brathwaite, who was star with bat and ball when West Indies beat England in the final of the T20 World Cup three years ago. Brathwaite’s critics claim he has done little since to warrant a place in the squad for the 50-over showpiece.
Brathwaite, 30, was impactful against England, capturing five wickets in four innings at 37.80, with a team’s best economy rate of 5.78. In three outings with the bat, he had a top score of 50 and an average of 22.
“The thing with Brathwaite is that he has been one of the steadier bowlers, [though] I don’t think he’s all that great a batsman. I can see where it [his selection] can be justified,” Dujon reasoned.
He also said he agreed with the decision to choose off-spinner Ashley Nurse and Fabian Allen, who bowls left-arm finger spin, as the main slow-bowling options in conditions which are likelier to suit quicker bowlers. (Jamaica Observer)
West Indies squad – Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Christopher Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.