Nicholas Pooran named in West Indies A red-ball squad to face New Zealand A in December

Cricket

Nicholas Pooran has been given the opportunity to stake his claim for future involvement in West Indies’ Test squads, after his inclusion in a 14-man ‘A’ squad to play a pair of first-class matches in New Zealand next month.

Pooran, 25, has asserted his position as one of the most exciting young limited-overs batsmen in the world in the last two years, making a flying start to his ODI career and continuing to impress on the global T20 circuit.

That form has led several prominent voices within West Indies cricket – most notably Michael Holding, the commentator and former fast bowler – to suggest he should be considered for Test selection, despite his first-class experience extending to three games for Trinidad and Tobago back in 2014.

But Pooran will have the chance to face the red ball for the first time since then in December, after being named in the West Indies A squad to play two fixtures against New Zealand A. The squad comprises eight members of the team currently playing a T20I series in the country, and six reserves from the Test party. There are two four-day matches scheduled, due to start on December 3 in Mount Maunganui and December 11 in Nelson.

“This series will give our players an opportunity to play first-class cricket against foreign opposition as well as experience different conditions here in New Zealand,” Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies’ lead selector, said. “It will also help to keep them in the frame should the need for replacements for the Test team arise, as we will have players who have been playing red-ball cricket and in form to consider.”

While it is highly unlikely that Pooran will play any part in the Test series against New Zealand even if he scores heavily – the A-team fixtures run in parallel to the Tests – he could feasibly be considered for the planned series in Bangladesh in January, where his ability against spin could come to the fore.

Pooran is due to link up with the Melbourne Stars for six matches in the BBL season following those fixtures, with the New Zealand-Australia travel corridor meaning that he will not have to quarantine on arrival in Australia.

West Indies A squad vs New Zealand A: Fabian Allen, Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh

Fixtures: December 3-6, Mount Maunganui, December 11-14, Nelson

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