ST JOHN’S: There was some rare good news for West Indies cricket when explosive opener Chris Gayle and all-rounder Marlon Samuels were included in the one-day squad for next month’s series against England on Monday.
Gayle, one of the biggest draw cards in world cricket, has not represented West Indies since the 2015 World Cup, while Samuels has been absent for a year because of a dispute with the board.
Neither plays for a Test side whose much-mourned decline in fortunes was much in evidence during the innings and 209-run defeat at the hands of England at Edgbaston last week.
Sunil Narine, and Dwayne and Darren Bravo all made themselves unavailable for the five-match ODI series, which begins in Manchester on September 19 and concludes in Southampton on September 29.
“The panel welcomes back Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, who will both add value to our batting and help with the nurturing of the young batsmen in the team,” CWI chief selector Courtney Browne said in a statement.
“Both Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo have declined to be considered for ODIs in England. Narine has however confirmed his desire to play 50-over cricket again but has asked to play in our Regional Super 50 before he is considered and Darren said he was not available for selection. Dwayne Bravo said he is still not 100% fit, but is looking at a possible return to international cricket next year,” Browne added.
Gayle, who turns 38 next month, has scored 9,221 runs in 269 ODIs for the Caribbean islands, while Samuels has scored 5,180 in 187.
The pair shared the record for the highest partnership in one-day cricket with the 372 they combined for against Zimbabwe in Canberra during the last World Cup.
Samuels refused a retainer from the board last year and was dropped for deciding to play in the Pakistan Super League rather than the Caribbean’s Super 50 competition.