Chris Gayle, 38, was rested according to a Cricket West Indies media release. The left-handed opener scored 142 runs in the recently-concluded three-match ODI series against Bangladesh, including 73 off 66 balls in the series decider while opening in what turned out to be an unsuccessful chase in an 18-run loss and lose the series 2-1. Walton was brought back after being left out of the T20I squad for the one-off hurricane relief match against a World XI at Lord’s in May. West Indies won that match by 72 runs while defending 199. Walton is the second wicketkeeper in the squad apart from Denesh Ramdin.
“We have rested Chris Gayle and have added left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell for variety to the bowling attack,” chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said. “The team reflects the last squad that performed well in the charity match in the UK.” Marlon Samuels, who missed the ODI series due to rehabilitation for a knee injury, retained his place in the T20I squad from Lord’s.
Cottrell was a part of the ODI squad against Bangladesh, playing the third ODI and taking figures of 1 for 59 in nine overs. He last played a T20I in January this year, against New Zealand. He comes back into the squad in place of Rayad Emrit.
Just prior to the Bangladesh limited-overs series, both Cottrell and Emrit competed in the Global T20 Canada tournament. Emrit took seven wickets in six matches for Winnipeg Hawks – including a 4 for 28 in the eliminator – at an average of 23.71 but Cottrell shone for the champions Vancouver Knights, finishing as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps in eight matches at 14.25.
Walton also played for the Knights, finishing ninth overall in runs with a tally of 183 and a strike rate of 156.41. Besides Cottrell and Walton, Evin Lewis and Andre Russell are other players in the West Indies T20I squad who also played for the champion Knights, a squad that was captained by Gayle.
Russell had recently injured his hamstring in the first ODI against Bangladesh and missed the two subsequent matches after that. It was feared that his recurring injury may have aggravated, but his inclusion in the T20 squad is a sign that the injury isn’t too serious.
After the first match in St. Kitts on Tuesday night, the final two T20Is will be played on August 4 and 5 in Florida at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill. It is the third series visit to Lauderhill for West Indies, following matches there against New Zealand in 2012 and India in 2016, while Bangladesh will be making their Florida debut.
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.