Samuels back for Zimbabwe opener
West Indies have recalled all-rounder Marlon Samuels for the opening Test with Zimbabwe, in Barbados, starting on Tuesday.
Samuels, who hit a career-best 260 in his last five-day innings versus Bangladesh at Khulna in November, has been out since sustaining a facial injury during the Big Bash League in early January, ruling him out of limited-overs internationals with Australia and Zimbabwe.
He will offer a spin option for the first of two Tests against Zimbabwe, for which Shane Shillingford has been preferred to fellow specialist tweaker Sunil Narine.
Narine, the world’s top-ranked Twenty20 bowler, made little impact versus the Tigers in the Windies’ previous Test series - with three expensive scalps in the first game preceding a wicketless second encounter.
Shillingford, whose last Test was against England in May, will challenge Veerasammy Permaul to be the hosts’ leading spinner - although both could play at the Kensington Oval given the pitch tends to offer assistance to spinners.
Shannon Gabriel, who made his Test debut at Lord’s in May, returns to a 13-man squad having recovered from a stress reaction in his back. Fellow fast bowlers Ravi Rampaul and Fidel Edwards have been dropped.
The other players to miss out from the party that toured Bangladesh are batsmen Kirk Edwards and Assad Fudadin.
Chris Gayle returns after asking to skip the limited-overs series with Zimbabwe but experienced batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, who made a century in that rubber, remains out of the Test set-up.
West Indies squad: Darren Sammy (capt), Denesh Ramdin (wk & vice-capt), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieron Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels and Shane Shillingford.