Pooran “committed” to A-team matches, says Harper

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After initially signalling his intention to play for the West Indies A-team in the two Four-Day matches against New Zealand A, which run concurrently with the two Tests, Nicholas Pooran has signed for Melbourne  Renegades.

The Australian Big Bash League (BBL) starts December 10 and runs until February 10, and it would mean, if he goes for the start of the tournament, he would miss the two matches. The Test matches are from December 3-7 and December 11-15.

According to ESPNCricinfo, Pooran was courted by several BBL clubs last year, but was unable to play in the tournament. He will be available for six matches this season.

However, Chief Selector Roger Harper, responding to a question from News Room Sport on the matter, indicated that Pooran is still committed to the two First-Class matches.

“What I do know is that when I spoke to Pooran that he was selected to play in the T20 series against New Zealand and that we have also given him the opportunity to play in the two First-Class games, I asked him if he was willing to play and he said yes,” Harper stated at the Virtual press conference on Wednesday evening.

“So yes he has given a commitment to play the two First-Class games [and] that is all I can tell you.”

Pooran is the Vice-captain of the T20 squad, and West Indies are down to play the hosts in three matches from November 27-30.

Harper had previously said that players in the Test squad who are not featuring in the playing XI can also play the A-team games 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 had 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.

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