Russell returns, Brathwaite to lead Windies at Lord’s

Proceeds from T20I against Rest of the World XI will go towards renovation of five grounds in the Caribbean that were affected by hurricanes last year.

17 Apr 2018, 16:21

NTV Online

Carlos Brathwaite will lead a strong Windies squad against the International Cricket Council Rest of the World XI in a charity Twenty20 International match at Lord’s.

The Hurricane Relief T20 Challenge will be played on 31 May to raise funds for Caribbean cricket grounds damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September last year, says an ICC press release.

The fixture has been given international status and the proceeds from the encounter will go towards the restoration and renovation of five venues in the Caribbean: Ronald Webster Park in Anguilla, Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua, Windsor Park Stadium in Dominica, A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground in BVI and Carib Lumber Ball Park in St Maarten.

The match marks the return of Andre Russell, the hard-hitting Windies all-rounder, to the side. Russell last played a T20I for Windies back in August 2016 against India. He has been in top form since his return from suspension to white-ball cricket, punishing the bowlers in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

His inclusion will further bolster the Windies side, which already has big strikers of the ball in Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis at the top of the order, Marlon Samuels, the Player of the Match in the ICC World T20 2016 final, and Samuel Badree, the leg-spinner.

Denesh Ramdin, Keemo Paul and Rayad Emrit retained their places from the T20I series against Pakistan last month while Ashley Nurse, the off-spinner, returned to the side.

Jason Mohammad, who captained in the Pakistan series, was not included.

‘We welcome the return of the players who missed the Pakistan series and are delighted to recall Andre Russell to the squad, as we believe he will have a key role in our white-ball cricket,’ said Chairman of Selectors Courtney Browne in a press release. ‘Denesh Ramdin and Keemo Paul keep their places after encouraging performances at both regional and international level.’

The charity match is being held with the support of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the ICC.

The Rest of the World XI side will be led by Eoin Morgan, the England limited-overs captain. The full squad is expected to be announced soon, with big names from world cricket featuring.

This is not the first time the cricket community has joined hands to help those in distress. In January 2005, the ICC World XI and Asia XI played a one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia to raise funds for people affected by the tsunami in 2004.

More recently, in 2015, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Matthew Hayden, Graeme Smith and Brendon McCullum were among a slew of international cricketers who took part in a T20 encounter in England to raise money for British Army soldiers injured in the line of duty.

Windies squad: Carlos Brathwaite (c), Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Andre Russell, Samuel Badree, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams