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West Indies stars return to ODI squad

22 August 2017

Gayle and Samuels last played an ODI together at the 2015 World Cup // Getty

Veterans named for ODI series against England; Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo flag their intention to return

Explosive West Indies opener Chris Gayle is set to play his first one-day international in more than two years after being recalled to the squad for their series against England.

The 37-year-old, who has racked up 9221 runs in 269 ODIs, returns along with fellow veterans Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor to add much-needed class to the Windies squad.

And in a further sign of an improved relationship between Windies officials and the Caribbean's best players, selectors also confirmed that star spinner Sunil Narine and former skipper Dwayne Bravo have flagged their intention to return to international cricket.

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The return of some of the Caribbean's biggest names was flagged last month when Cricket West Indies announced a "temporary amnesty" on their controversial selection policy that has driven a wedge between administrators and players.

With the Windies facing the likelihood of not earning automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup, the board reversed their controversial stance that players must make themselves available for domestic tournaments in the formats of the game they wish to play at international level.

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"With regards to the selection of the ODI squad, 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," read a statement from the selection panel chairman Courtney Browne.

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"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 Super50 before he is considered and Darren said he was not available for selection.

"Dwayne Bravo said he is still not 100 percent fit, but is looking at a possible return to international cricket next year."

The Windies are currently the world's ninth-ranked ODI team and look set to miss automatic qualification for the next World Cup, meaning they will instead have to play in a mini qualification tournament next year against Associate nations.

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The once unthinkable prospect of the Windies failing to qualify for a World Cup, a tournament they won in 1975 and 1979, has become a very real possibility given their recent slide down the rankings and the fact the 2019 tournament has been reduced to just 10 teams. The recent ICC Champions Trophy, featuring only the world's top eight teams, was the first time the Windies have failed to qualify for a major tournament.

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Speaking last month, Gayle stated that the 2019 World Cup remained a major goal of his despite an absence from the ODI side that stretches back to the 2015 tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

"That's my target - to play the 2019 World Cup and have some part to play," he told ESPN.

"We don't want to miss out on a World Cup event. It was sad what happened in the Champions Trophy, with no West Indies team there for the first time. That is disappointing. We don't want to miss out on a World Cup, that will be more devastating for us."

West Indies play a one-off ODI against Ireland in Belfast on September 13 before facing England in a five-match series.

West Indies ODI squad
Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder (c), Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams


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