A-Team games to serve as Test audition for Pooran

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By Akeem Greene

Nicholas Pooran’s maturity in his ‘second-coming’ in cricket has enthused many to call for his inclusion in the West Indies Test squad.

According to Chief Selector, Roger Harper, the upcoming A team matches in New Zealand is an opportunity for Pooran to show his worth in the red-ball cricket.

West Indies A team will play two Four-Day matches while the two Tests are ongoing during the tour to New Zealand, which starts next month. The first Test is from December 3-7 and the second, December 11-15.

Chief Selector Roger Harper said that a separate squad will not be selected, but rather the five Test reserves and those players who are a part of the 14-man T20 group, and are interested, will form the A-team.

Pooran is part of the T20 squad, down to play the hosts in three matches from November 27-30, and has indicated to the selection panel, he is willing to play in the Four-Day matches after.

Harper also said that players in the Test squad who are not featuring in the playing XI can also play if they so choose.

It provides the perfect opportunity for Pooran to audition for a Test spot, despite only playing three First-Class matches, the last of which was in December 2014 against Guyana.

Harper noted that there is no absolute rule Pooran must play First-Class cricket to be eligible for a Test call-up.

“A lot of consideration went into this [Pooran’s non-selection in the Test squad] and we thought that this is the best way to go. Nicholas will have an opportunity to play those Four-Day games and we have an opportunity to see him in that and then we will decide,” Harper stated.

“There is no absolute rule which says he has to [play First-Class cricket], but this is a choice and decision of the panel.”

Outside of playing in the Caribbean Premier League, Pooran has only represented Trinidad and Tobago in 18 List-A matches before making an ODI debut in February 2019.

However, across the various T20 leagues and Internationals, he has played 147 matches to date.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who sustained ankle and knee injuries in a car accident in January 2015, which threatened to end his career prematurely, had said earlier this year his boyhood dream is to play Test cricket and will do so if called upon.

Despite just 25 One-Day Internationals under his belt, Pooran has become a regular starter in West Indies’ middle-order; he averages 49.05- the second best of the current group- and has a strike rate of 106.51.

He has one ODI century, which came against Sri Lanka during the 2019 World Cup, to go with seven half-centuries.

His calculated aggression and classy stroke-play in both the 50-over and T20 formats have promoted calls for him to be tested in the Test arena.

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