May 19 (Reuters) – West Indies have recalled all-rounder Andre Russell for Twenty20 series against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan as they prepare to defend their 20-overs World Cup title in India later this year.
Russell has not played international cricket since March 2020, though he was active in T20 leagues in West Indies, Sri Lanka and India.
Left-handed batsman Shimron Hetmyer and bowlers Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas and Hayden Walsh Jr also returned to join the 18-member squad led by Kieron Pollard.
“These upcoming T20Is are crucial in terms of our preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup,” head coach Phil Simmons said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We have assembled a very solid squad — with experienced world-class match-winners and some exciting young talented players ready to explode onto the global stage and do great things for West Indies cricket.
“We are at that point where we have identified those who we will look to be the core of the squad to defend our World Cup title …
“We won five years ago, so the next few weeks and months will be major stepping-stones on the road towards defending our title and being World Champions for a third time.”
Spinner Sunil Narine again sits out, having earlier informed the board he was not ready to return to international cricket.
Veterans Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards and Chris Gayle are also in the squad, which will quarantine and train in St. Lucia ahead of the series opener against South Africa in Grenada on June 26.
They will subsequently play similar five-match series against Australia and Pakistan in July-August.
West Indies T20I squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (wicketkeeper), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)
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