Uncapped Mikyle Louis in West Indies playing XI for first Test against England

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West Indies announced their line-up for the first Test against England, starting on Wednesday at Lord’s. A historic debut is in the offing for the Men in Maroon with the inclusion of uncapped opener Mikyle Louis in the side.

The hosts announced their starting XI on Monday, with Test debuts in store for pacer Gus Atkinson and wicketkeeper Jamie Smith.

West Indies’ XI is also short on experience with six players- Shamar Joseph, Mikyle Louis, Gudakesh Motie, Kavem Hodge, Kirk McKenzie and Alick Athanaze- all having played five or fewer Test matches thus far.

First Test cricketer from St. Kitts

Mikyle Louis is the only debutant named in the West Indies XI.

It marks a significant moment not just in his career, but in the history of Caribbean cricket, as the 23-year-old will become the first-ever Test cricketer from the island of St. Kitts, the larger of the two that make up the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Elquemedo Willett, Derick Parry, Keith Arthurton, Stuart Williams, Runako Morton and Kieran Powell have all come from the nation and represented West Indies at the Test level, but all six of them hail from Nevis, not St. Kitts. Louis is the first Kittsian in 96 years of Caribbean Test history to make it this far.

He has broken into the West Indies Test squad (and XI) on the back of a stellar 2023/24 domestic season. In 14 matches for the Leeward Islands, he scored 682 runs with four fifties and three centuries, averaging 48.7. In the West Indies’ tour match against a County Select XI last week, Louis scored 50 (batting at number three) and 28 (opening the innings).

West Indies XI for first England Test

The majority of the batting burden in this XI will have to be taken up by Louis’ opening partner, captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

McKenzie, Athanaze and Hodge form a talented but severely untested middle-order, before the experienced Jason Holder (64 caps) and relatively experienced wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva (26 caps) shore up the lower-order.

In the absence of Kemar Roach, the West Indies’ fifth-highest wicket-taker of all time, Holder will be expected to lead the pace attack alongside Alzarri Joseph. Jayden Seales and Shamar Joseph are an exciting pair of seamers to support them, but once again remain inexperienced players.

Motie is the lone spinner in West Indies’ XI. His five Test matches thus far have come in four different countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia) and yielded 22 wickets at an average of 20.9. A first-class average of 21.3 suggests some promise, but English conditions can be unforgiving on spinners. (Wisden)

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