The provisional 15-man squad, which will travel for all the five matches – to be played from August 3 and 13 – will be trimmed to a squad of 13 for each game before a final XI is picked.
“We want people with a little bit of X-factor,” Haynes said on the inclusion of Thomas and Hope. “With Oshane, we’re looking at somebody who is going to make a difference with pace. As you know, Oshane was in the wilderness for a while, he’s come back and worked very hard. He seemed to me as though he’s very keen and really wants to get back to top shape and also to be bowling fast again. I personally think that we need to find some fast bowlers in the Caribbean and I think with the start with Oshane, I’m hoping that [it’s] time to get ready to go to Australia for the Test series [in January 2024] with six or seven fast bowlers.
“We thought that Shai is obviously batting very well and well enough to play all three competitions for West Indies.
“The squad is selected with the next ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in mind. We are looking at various plans as we try to find the right combinations. As we prepare, we are looking to build a unit which we believe can do the job when we host the global event in just under a year. We have some match-winners in our line-up and we will look to have the right kind of preparation, starting here in Trinidad on Thursday.”
Haynes added that some other players could “come into consideration going forward” depending on performances in the CPL starting on August 17.
Hope, the West Indies ODI captain and star batter in the format, also returned after over a year, having last played a T20I in February 2022 in India. He has played only 19 T20Is, striking at 121.11 with a poor average of 17.88. His last T20 was in the previous PSL for winners Lahore Qalandars.
Among the returnees, Thomas’ absence was the longest. He had been out of the T20I set-up since December 2021. To add to that, he has not played any cricket since December 2022, when he featured in the Lanka Premier League for Kandy Falcons. He has been part of the ODI squad against India but didn’t play in the first two games.
On picking just two spin options in the squad, Haynes said, “We didn’t go for a legbreak-googly bowler for these games. We’re still trying to find the right combination because we would like to know that we have got a T20 team that can be very competitive. Playing at home in the T20 World Cup, we’d like to be very, very competitive. Akeal Hosein has been very good for us in the T20 games and Roston Chase has also done well, and we thought we’d go for the offspin option this time and also with Akeal.
“In that way, we are quite happy, but in these T20s, we decided to look for a combination where we would like to get a little bit of pace. Apart from Alzarri [Joseph], we don’t really have express pace, so we thought let Oshane have a look-in as well. We’ve got Obed [McCoy] who can swing the new ball and bowl a lot of varieties.”
These five T20Is against India will be played across the Caribbean and the USA. After the series starts in Tarouba on August 3, Providence will host two games on August 6 and 8 before the teams fly to Lauderhill in Florida for the last two games on August 12 and 13.
West Indies squad for T20I series against India: Rovman Powell (capt), Kyle Mayers (vice-capt), Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Obed McCoy, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Oshane Thomas