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Jason Mohammed to lead depleted Windies in Pakistan

Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder, Chris Gayle and Devendra Bishoo have made themselves unavailable for the tour because of security concerns.

Jason Mohammed

Jason Mohammed will lead an inexperienced Windies team in their three-match Twenty20 International series in Pakistan, to be played in Karachi, Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced on Friday 30 March.

Carlos Brathwaite, the regular T20I captain, has made himself unavailable for the series owing to security concerns along with Jason Holder, Chris Gayle and Devendra Bishoo for the matches that will be held on consecutive days: 1, 2 and 3 April.

“We had a few players that opted not to tour Pakistan, due to their or their families’ security concerns, and CWI have fully accepted their position,” said Courtney Browne, the chairman of selectors. “This series, therefore, provides opportunities for new players to stake their claim for a regular place in the team, plus gain vital experience in different conditions. We expect the series to be highly competitive.”

Chris Gayle is one of the seniors to have opted out of the series

Mohammed, 31, has so far played six T20Is, along with 26 one-day internationals, with moderate returns: 62 runs with a best of 23* with an average of 31 and a strike rate of 87.32.

With some of the senior pros out, the 13-man squad had room for four uncapped players – Andre McCarthy, a middle-order batsman, a paceman in Odean Smith, 20-year-old Keemo Paul who made his one-day international debut at the recent ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, and Veerasammy Permaul, the left-arm spinner who has turned out in six Tests and seven ODIs in the past.

“Smith and McCarthy are currently in our Windies A programme and we believe this experience will be of benefit to them. Smith has good pace and has shown good potential as a fast bowler. McCarthy is a talented batsman who has made progress in white-ball cricket,” said Browne of the newcomers.

Denesh Ramdin has a chance to revive his international career

Paul has really grasped his opportunity following a strong showing in the Super50, the Windies A series victories against England Lions, and he has grabbed his opportunity at international level. His performances during the ICC World Cup Qualifiers were both exciting and composed and he gets a chance to build on these with his selection for Pakistan.

“Permaul has already had a few opportunities at international level, so he is no stranger to international cricket. He has never played T20Is, however, and this will be a welcome opportunity for him to show another dimension to his game.”

Windies, added a third wicket-keeping option to the squad by naming Denesh Ramdin in addition to Chadwick Walton and Andre Fletcher. Ramdin, a former Windies captain, last featured in a T20I in 2016. All three are useful batsmen, too, giving Mohammed plenty of alternatives in figuring out the ideal playing XI.

“Denesh brings a lot of experience and an opportunity to restart his international career. While he will be the primary wicketkeeper in the squad, we also have available Chadwick Walton and Andre Fletcher as back up,” said Browne.

Cricket fans returned to Karachi's National Stadium for the final of the 2018 Pakistan Super League

The otherwise inexperienced squad does have some senior players in Marlon Samuels and Samuel Badree, as well as regulars like Kesrick Williams and Rovman Powell.

This is the first time international cricket will be played at Karachi’s National Stadium since February 2009, when Sri Lanka played their first Test of the series there. Since then, Pakistan have played most of their home matches in the United Arab Emirates, and the little cricket that has been played in their country has been in Lahore.

On 25 March, though, the final of the 2018 edition of the Pakistan Super League was played in Karachi, and Fletcher and Walton, as well as Darren Sammy, were the Windies cricketers involved in the action.

Squad: Jason Mohammed (c), 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

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