The West Indies Cricket Board’s Selection Panel has named left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin as a replacement for off-spinner Ashley Nurse in the squad for the two T20 Internationals in England next week.
Nurse did not meet the required fitness standard during the ongoing West Indies team camp in Barbados and has been withdrawn from the squad as a result.
Mathurin is a 27-year-old from St Lucia. He started playing at the regional level in 2007 and has been a steady member of the Windward Islands team. He joined the West Indies camp on Friday and will depart with the squad on Monday.
“I’m ecstatic… really delighted to be picked in the West Indies team. It was totally unexpected. The team was picked a few weeks ago and obviously I was not included so I went back to the drawing board and continued to work. However, when I got the call that I would be in the touring squad as a replacement, I was thrilled,” he said.
“I see this as an opportunity given to me to represent the people of the Caribbean and I’m looking to have a good tour. I’m looking forward to fitting into the new environment and working with the coach and the other members of the team. I’m a confident person and a confident cricketer so I always keep a positive outlook.”
Mathurin is known across the region as an accurate, tight left-arm spinner with the ability to bowl long spells. He has played 11 first-class matches, taking 40 wickets at 22.15 runs each. His best figures of seven for 72 came against England Lions at Windsor Park in Dominica in the WICB 4 Day tournament earlier this year. He is also a capable lower order batsman and sharp fielder.
The selection comes as an early birthday present for Mathurin, who will celebrate his 28th birthday on September 23. He hails from the town of Mon Repos and becomes just the third St Lucian to be picked for the West Indies following captain Darren Sammy and top-order batsman Johnson Charles.
“In T20 cricket it’s all about looking to get runs as quickly as possible so the aim of the bowler is to keep the batsmen in check and restrict the scoring. My main asset is my ability to keep it tight and build pressure on the batsmen. I see this as my job in the team. Also, I know I have to contribute with the bat and I’m always looking to see what I can do to contribute to the team.”
He added: “I learned a lot playing for St Lucia and for the Windwards and will look to put those things in place when I get a chance to play at the international level. I have known Darren for a very long time, we played together at the Under-19 level and the senior level for St Lucia and Windwards and we talk a lot about the game, so it’s special for me that I get to play for West Indies with him as the captain.”
The West Indies are slated to play a warm-up match against Sagicor HPC on Sunday at the 3Ws Oval. First ball is 2 pm (1 pm Jamaica Time). The squad departs from Barbados on Monday. The two-match series will be played at the Kia Oval in London on Friday, September 23 and Sunday, September 25.
West Indies Twenty20 Squad v England
Darren Sammy (Captain), Christopher Barnwell, Miles Bascombe, Devendra Bishoo, Nkrumah Bonner, Johnson Charles, Derwin Christian (Wicketkeeper), Fidel Edwards, Danza Hyatt, Garey Mathurin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Dwayne Smith