Harper: Paul omitted to ‘get fit’; Permaul a ‘natural’ selection


By Akeem Greene

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Chairman of Selectors, Roger Harper, has clarified the situation regarding the omission of all-rounder Keemo Paul, along with the factors that led to the recall of spinner Veerasammy Permaul to the West Indies squad for the tour to Bangladesh next month.

Paul is usually a regular in all three West Indies’ squads and in recent series, a consistent feature of the playing XI of the limited-overs teams.

The 22-year-old played in two of the three T20Is against New Zealand, but was overlooked for Test selection due to what CWI media described as a groin injury.

He did play in the Four-Day match against New Zealand A, but bowled only five overs.

In the ongoing Big Bash League, Paul has just played one match since December 19 for Hobart Hurricanes, bowling just two overs.

According to Harper, the panel wants Paul to fully recuperate from his injuries for the busy 2021.

CWI Chief Selector Roger Harper

“We thought that we will give him an opportunity to get himself fully fit because he has been having some injury issues,” Harper stated at a Virtual press briefing after Tuesday’s squad announcement.

“We have got a lot of cricket for 2021, especially in the Caribbean, and we wanted to make sure that come the international scene in the Caribbean he is fully fit and is in his best possible form. So we are giving him an opportunity to get back home, fully rehab, strengthen up in the areas of concern and as well get his game back up to tip-top shape.”

On the other hand, Permaul, who has the best aggregate for a spinner in the Professional Cricket League, got a Test recall after five years.

Since the inception of the franchise-based Four-Day tournament, Permaul has been the leading wicket-taker on three occasions (2014-15, 2017-18 and 2019-20), while he finished second in 2018-19, third in 2016-17 and fifth in 2015-16.

Despite close to 300 wickets in the last six seasons, the former West Indies A team captain has only appeared in two Test matches during this period, both in 2015 against England and Australia in the Caribbean.

Permaul was overlooked this year for tours to England and New Zealand. On both tours, there were reserve Test players travelling with the squad.

“We are heading to Bangladesh, where conditions are most likely to assist our spin bowlers and this was an opportunity for Permaul, who would have consistently done well at the regional level.”

Harper added, “You would notice we have three spinners in the squad and think that [Permaul] was a natural and easy choice to make and we look forward to him doing his thing in Bangladesh and performing at the sort of high level he has done at the regional level.”

West Indies arrive in Bangladesh on January 10, after which they play three One-Day Internationals from January 20-25, followed by two Tests, which start February 3 and 11.

West Indies last toured Bangladesh in 2018/2019 with a more experienced squad, and lost the ODI series 1-2 and both Tests.

West Indies Test Squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Raymon Reifer and Jomel Warrican.

West Indies ODI Squad: Jason Mohammed (captain), Sunil Ambris (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Andre McCarthy, Kjorn Ottley, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr.

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