Windies recall Devon Smith for Sri Lanka Tests after three-year long hiatus

Left-handed batsman Devon Smith returns from the wilderness after three years as Cricket West Indies on Friday (May 25) recalled him to a 13-man squad for the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, starting June 6 in Trinidad. The Grenadian batsman earned the call-up, riding on his performances in the Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day Tournament. His 1095 runs, scored at an average of 84.23 and including six centuries, were the most by any individual in the competition.

The other major change to the squad that toured New Zealand last year is the inclusion of uncapped 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Jahmar Hamilton who impressed in the ‘A’ series against England Lions. Having been around in the first-class arena since 2008, this will be the first time Hamilton might get to feature in the Windies side.

Squad: Jason Holder (capt), Devendra Bishoo, Devon Smith, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Jahmar Hamilton (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Kemar Roach

“We have retained the core of the Test team as they remain competitive even after a tough series in New Zealand. Devon Smith had an outstanding year and players who excel to that degree should be recognised. We are trying to improve our top order batting performances,” Courtney Browne, chairman of selectors, said in a media release.

“Jahmar Hamilton comes into the squad after consecutive strong performances over the last three years and showed even better quality in the ‘A’ team series against the England Lions. We wish the team every success.”

While Hamilton is the second wicketkeeper in the squad alongside Shane Dowrich, Smith is one of the three openers alongside Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell. The ones to have missed out from the last series against New Zealand are Sunil Ambris, Jermaine Blackwood, Alzarri Joseph and Raymon Reifer. While Blackwood didn’t feature in any of the two New Zealand Tests, Reifer had humble returns.

Not long back, the West Indies-Sri Lanka series was in quandary after reports emerged that one of the three Tests could be scrapped in exchange of an ODI series. However, that seems to have been resolved with three Tests to go on as per the original schedule. Sri Lanka will begin the tour with a three-day warmup match followed by three Tests to be played in Trinidad, St Lucia and Barbados respectively.

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