Jamaica Observer / ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — Explosive all-rounder Andre Russell is poised to play his first One-Day International (ODI) in three years after being named in a 13-man squad for the three-match series against Bangladesh starting next Sunday in Guyana, but no place has been found for veteran right-hander Marlon Samuels. The 30-year-old Russell has not played since the tour of Sri Lanka back in 2015, with his availability having been further compounded by a year-long ban for an anti-doping whereabouts violation which ruled him out of all competitive cricket last year.
He returned at the start of the year and scored a hundred in the domestic Super50 Championship, but declined an invitation to participate in the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March.
A big-hitting lower-order batsman, brilliant outfielder and sharp seamer, Russell’s return has been highly anticipated and West Indies Head Coach Stuart Law said he was pleased to have the Jamaican back in the fold.
“This is the start of our prep for the 2019 [Cricket World Cup] opportunities for players to stake a claim to be included in the squad,” Law said.
“Great to have Dre Russ (Russell) back as well. His explosive power and energy will breathe life into an already motivated squad.”
The 37-year-old Samuels is a conspicuous omission, however. A veteran of 199 ODIs, the Jamaican stroke maker was part of the squad for the World Cup qualifiers where he scored 231 runs at an average of 33.
He along with superstar opener Chris Gayle are the most experienced members of the Windies ODI set-up, which otherwise comprises a number of young players.
Samuels is just one of several players who participated in World Cup Qualifiers, to be overlooked for the upcoming series.
All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, along with left-arm spinner Nikita Miller and seamers Kesrick Williams and Sheldon Cottrell, have all been ignored, while Test seamer Kemar Roach has been rested.
Speedster Alzarri Joseph, meanwhile, has returned to the side after recovering from a stress fracture which kept him out of competitive cricket for most of the year.
The 21-year-old played the last of his 14 ODIs 10 months ago on the five-match tour of England.
Chief Selector Courtney Browne said with the Windies scheduled to play 16 ODIs before the International Cricket Council World Cup in England next May, his panel would use the opportunity to continue their evaluation of players.
“As we continue to prepare, there are only 16 ODIs leading up to the tournament. The panel will focus on giving opportunities from time to time to players that we believe can add value to the ODI team,” said Browne.
“With the Super50 Championship set for October this year, we will also have an opportunity for regional players to perform heavily and place themselves in line to be considered for selection.”
As expected, the squad will be led by Test skipper Jason Holder and includes impressive 20-year-old pacer Keemo Paul and Test left-hander Kieran Powell, who has not played an ODI in over a year.
The second ODI is also carded for Guyana on July 25 with the final match set for Warner Park in St Kitts three days later.
West Indies swept the preceding Test series 2-0.
SQUAD — Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell.