Windies coy on 1st Test lineup

The likely lineup Australia will face for this week’s first Test against the West Indies will stay up in the air until the very eve of the match.

Several questions hang over the hosts as well as the tourists going into the series opener at Windsor Park in Dominica.

Just like Australia, the Windies are yet to decide whether they will pick two spinners or three fast bowlers at a venue renowned for assisting slow bowlers.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s omission by selectors also leaves a huge hole in the hosts’ batting lineup.

Highly-rated 21-year-old right-hander Shai Hope, who debuted as an opener in the Windies’ last Test against England, is expected to move down to his preferred middle-order role and take Chanderpaul’s spot.

But that then leaves a question mark as to who will open alongside Kraigg Brathwaite, with uncapped pair Rajindra Chandrika and Shane Dowrich believed to be the men most likely.

Chandrika made a first innings half-century and a first-ball duck in last week’s tour match in Antigua against Australia while Dowrich, who isn’t a natural opener, made two impressive half-centuries.

Coach Phil Simmons says all 14 players remain in the mix despite the Test being less than two days away from starting.

“I don’t know. It (the pitch) looks a little bit different from yesterday. It looks hard, bit patchy but I’ll wait until tomorrow and see what it’s like before we make that decision,” he said.

Simmons is, however, confident the furore over 164-Test veteran Chanderpaul’s axing hasn’t proven to be a distraction at all.

“It’s about the team and we’ve got to just make sure we’re ready as a team for the Test match on Wednesday,” he said.

WEST INDIES (Probable XI): Kraigg Brathwaite, Shane Dowrich, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Shai Hope, Jermaine Blackwood, Denesh Ramdin (capt), Jason Holder, Jerome Taylor, Kemar Roach, Veerasammy Permaul.

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