LEGENDARY WEST Indies fast bowler Sir Andy Roberts is urging TT Red Force and WI limited-overs specialist Nicholas Pooran to be given a go in First-Class cricket, so he can further stake a claim for selection on the regional Test squad.
Roberts was speaking on Tuesday on the Barbados-based Mason and Guest show.
Recently, Roberts’ former WI teammate Michael Holding wondered why the 24-year-old Pooran was not considered for the 14-man Test team for the tour of England. Pooran has only played three First-Class matches, in November and December 2014.
Roberts said, “There is one name that I haven’t heard anybody call, and I think that we should try to get this guy to play red-ball cricket, Nicholas Pooran.
“It would be better for him in the long run. It will help his game.”
The West Indies are set to play three Tests, behind closed doors, in England in July. The Test squad, as well as 11 reserves, arrived in England on Tuesday for a quarantine period, followed by preparation for the First Test in Southampton on July 8.
A surprise name on the Test squad is Guyana Jaguars’ all-rounder Raymon Reifer, who has only played one Test, against New Zealand, in 2017.
On the 29-year-old Barbadian-born left-handed player, Roberts asked, “What is Raymon’s strength? (Does) his strength depends a lot on swing or containment? These are some of things that we need to look at.”
Roberts, the former WI coach and selector, mentioned, “One name that surprises me in the announcement of the squad is Oshane Thomas. His name should be pencilled down (in the Test squad).”
Thomas, like Pooran, is deemed as a limited-overs specialist. The 23-year-old Jamaican fast bowler has played eight First-Class matches, between 2016 and 2019.
Roberts continued, “He has what others want, which is pace. He may not be a wicket-taker but he creates some problems for the opposition. That is what you want.”
Asked if he thinks that the West Indies can retain the Wisden Trophy (after a 2-1 win at home in 2019), the 69-year-old Roberts replied, “That would be great, but I think they would have to work very hard.
“It’s difficult for me to pinpoint who is going to blossom on that tour,” he added. “I am hoping we can find one or two players from that tour who can go on to become household names in the West Indies, and around the world.”