Jason Mohammed will captain a notably weakened West Indies side set to tour Pakistan for a three-match T20I series. With less than 72 hours to the first ball being bowled, there was increasing concern over the fate of the tour, but the announcement of the 13-man squad will come as a relief to the Pakistan Cricket Board, who had already begun to sell tickets for the three games to be played at the National Stadium Karachi.
As with Sri Lanka’s visit to Pakistan last October, West Indies’ side is well off from what would be considered a full-strength unit. Just four of the side that will tour Pakistan were in West Indies’ squad for the World Cup qualifiers earlier this month, with skipper Jason Holder, Chris Gayle and Devendra Bishoo among those absent. There are two new faces in what is a relatively inexperienced side, Andre McCarthy and Odean Smith having received their maiden call-ups.
Another intriguing aspect to the squad is the complete absence of any players from Barbados. West Indies have, at present, a sizeable Barbadian contingent in their regular starting line-up, including their captain Holder, but he, as well as the likes of Shai Hope, Carlos Brathwaite and Ashley Nurse do not feature.
Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin and Samuel Badree are the most experienced players on the team sheet. Also part of the touring party are wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton and opener Andre Fletcher, both of whom played in Karachi on Sunday in the Pakistan Super League final.
Commenting on the tour, Cricket West Indies (CWI) Chief Executive Officer Jonny Grave said, “Following the successful hosting of the Pakistan Super League final in Karachi on the weekend, our squad are now en route to Pakistan for our three-match T20I series.
This tour is a further major step for our friends at the PCB to bring their cricket back home, and we are pleased that our players and support staff have recognised this and supported this venture.
“Independent security advisors Eastern Star International have confirmed to both CWI and WIPA that they are satisfied the risk is manageable and can be mitigated to an acceptable level. We have made it very clear to the players and support staff that had personal reservations about this tour that we fully understand and respect their position.”
West Indies were due to visit Pakistan in November, but a number of factors – including unforeseen bad weather – meant the tour had to be postponed. The reluctance of several West Indies players to tour Pakistan due to security concerns has been evident ever since the tour was announced, and it emerged just last week that CWI was offering its players around USD25,000 if they agreed to tour Pakistan for the series.
The three T20Is will be played consecutively from April 1-3, all at the National Stadium in Karachi.
West Indies squad: Jason Mohammad (capt), Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Andre McCarthy, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Marlon Samuels, Odean Smith, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams