Kaysia Schultz earns maiden call-up as West Indies announce 18-member squad for tour to England; Anisa Mohammed opts out

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Kaysia Schultz earns maiden call-up as West Indies announce 18-member squad for tour to England; Anisa Mohammed opts out

West Indies celebrate a wicket. © ICC

Uncapped left-arm spinner Kaysia Schultz has been included in West Indies' 18-member squad for the team's tour to England next month which will consist of five T20Is played at the County Ground in Derby between September 21-30. Veteran off-spinner Anisa Mohammed is the only notable absentee from the unit, having declined the invitation to travel.

Stafanie Taylor, who has successfully recovered from the groin injury she suffered during the T20 World Cup in March, will lead a rather settled-looking unit. 14 of the 15-member squad that travelled to Australia for the mega-event earlier this year have been retained, with Schultz, off-spinner Karishma Ramharack and batter Natasha McLean added to the group.

All players were given the option to decline the invitation to travel by Cricket West Indies, with only Mohammed choosing not to join the squad.

The trio of Taylor, Hayley Matthews and Deandra Dottin will play a central role in the team's performances with both bat and ball. The addition of McLean, the hard-hitting batter, who suffered a slump of form ahead of the mega-event this year, will add much needed fire-power to West Indies' lower-middle order. Britney Cooper, Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation will shore up the batting.

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33-year-old Lee-Ann Kirby who returned to the side after an absence of 12 years, has retained her spot in the team.

A fully fit fast bowling contingent consisting of Shamilia Connell, Shakera Selman, Chinelle Henry, Aaliyah Alleyne, Shabeka Gajnabi and Dottin, will complement the spin of Afy Fletcher, Shenata Grimmond, Ramharack, Schultz, and the off-spinning duo of Matthews and Taylor.

“It is with pleasure that we are able once again to have our West Indies women's team involved at the international level," said lead selector Ann Browne-John. "This tour to England gives our players a great opportunity. The larger eighteen (18) member squad also gives an opportunity to have young developing players involved; like the two players from Guyana, left-arm bowler Kaysia Shultz and all-rounder Shabika Gajnabi. It also gives the opportunity to the young Trinidadian off spinner Karishma Ramharack to get some international experience.”

Former Jamaica wicketkeeper-batter Andre Coley has been named interim head coach of the team and will be assisted by the duo of Esuan Crandon and former West Indies fast bowler Corey Collymore.

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The selected players (and staff) will undergo a COVID-19 test this week, and are scheduled to travel to England via a private charter on Sunday (August 30). They will arrive in Derby on Monday (August 31) and will be based there through the course of the tour.

The team will will live, train and play in the bio-secure environment in Derby for a period of fours weeks "as part of the comprehensive medical operations" to ensure the safety of players and staff. Movement in and out of said bubble will be restricted.

“CWI is pleased to be restarting its international women’s program with a tour to England, where the standard of women’s cricket has grown tremendously," Jimmy Adams, CWI director of cricket, said. "We thank the ECB for their invitiation and the added opportunity to travel with a larger squad affords us the chance to introduce a few younger players to this level of the game, and fast track their development. With so much uncertainty surrounding cricket scheduling currently, this is a timely opportunity for our women to resume competitive cricket at the highest level.”

Squad: Stafanie Taylor (c), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Britney Cooper, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Cherry-Ann Fraser, Shabika Gajnabi, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Lee-Ann Kirby, Hayley Matthews, Natasha McLean, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Kaysia Schultz, Shakera Selman.