Harper: Jason Mohammed ‘best fit’ to ‘guide’ youngsters in ODI squad

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The Cricket West Indies Selection Panel, which is chaired by Roger Harper, has opted to not only give a recall to Jason Mohammed, but also install him as the captain for the One-Day International team for the tour to Bangladesh.

The decision, which raised eyebrows in some quarters, was defended by Harper, who stated it came as a result of Mohammed’s experience.

Mohammed appeared in the last of 28 ODIs for West Indies in July 2018, at Providence, where he made 12 from 15 balls against Bangladesh.

Now 34, the Trinidadian was in imperious form at the Super50 in November 2019, where he hammered 357 runs in seven innings at an average of 89.25 and strike rate of 105.30.

He scored one century (101*) and three fifties for his native Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.

The right-hander had also captained a weakened West Indies T20 side on their tour to Pakistan in April 2018, after the seasoned players opted out due to security concerns.

Yet again, some senior players have opted out of a tour, and this time due to COVID-19, and the combination of the aforementioned and the vastly inexperienced ODI squad is the rationale for Mohammed’s recall, according to Harper.

The squad has eight players without ODI experience.

“We thought with a team of this nature, where they are a number of young players and a lot of the regulars absent, we needed someone with a little bit more experienced, and someone who will be able to help and guide some of the younger fellas on a tour like this and we thought Jason Mohammed was the best fit,” Harper told the media at a Virtual briefing recently.

“He is a seasoned regional player, he has represented the West Indies in the past and he has gotten captaincy experience.”

Harper wants Rovman Powell to focus on improving his personal form

When West Indies last toured Bangladesh in December 2018 and lost the ODI series 2-1, Rovman Powell was the skipper, since the then captain, Jason Holder, was injured.

Powell has also led the regional side in other instances and it would have seemed the logical choice in the circumstances, but Harper said the panel wanted to give the 27-year-old Jamaican a chance to focus on his personal game.

The promising all-rounder has gone through a lean patch in all formats of the game.

His last ODI score of 50 or more was 74* against Bangladesh in July 2018, at Warner Park, but eight innings after, his best is 22.

On the last tour to Bangladesh he made 16 runs in three innings and has not played an ODI since December 14, 2018.

“While we appreciate Rovman is in the squad and what he has done [captained West Indies], you realise that Rovman at this point in time needs to focus on getting his game to the sort of standard we know he is capable of delivering.”

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 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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