West Indies star all-rounder Andre Russell has returned to the T20I unit as Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced the provisional 18-man squad for the exciting home summer against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

Russell has made a comeback in the T20I outfit for the first time since March 2020. Apart from the power-striker, Shimron Hetmyer and Sheldon Cottrell have also returned to the side.

However, Sunil Narine was not picked as the spinner informed lead selector Roger Harper, stating he wasn’t yet ready to play the international fixture.

“If his position changes, then the selectors would consider him for selection,” a CWI spokesperson said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Veteran players Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Fidel Edwards have retained their spots in the squad, led by Kieron Pollard. Left-handed explosive batter Nicholas Pooran continues to be the vice-captain of Windies T20I outfit.

“The Provisional T20I Squad was put together with all T20I Home Series Matches against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan in mind. This allows us to continue to build towards the upcoming World Cup and to determine our best squad and our ideal eleven,” said Harper.

West Indies will host South Africa, Pakistan and Australia for as many as 15 T20Is this summer. It will help the Caribbeans in their preparation concerning the upcoming T20 World Cup. The first T2OI game will begin against the Proteas on June 26.

“These upcoming T20Is are crucial in terms of our preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup. We have assembled a very solid squad with experienced world-class match-winners and some exciting young talented players, ready to explode onto the global stage and do great things for West Indies cricket,” said Phil Simmons, head coach of WI.

“We are at that point where we have identified those who we will look to be the core of the squad to defend our World Cup title, so we want to make sure the upcoming matches create that environment. The next few weeks and months will be major stepping stones on the road towards defending our title and being World Champions for the third time,” added Simmons.

Here is the West Indies Provisional squad for mega T20I summer

Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran (vc), Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons.

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