Louis to debut as young West Indies seek to defy odds

1 week ago 15

LONDON (CMC):

WEST INDIES will hand novice opener Mikyle Louis his debut as part of an inexperienced XI for the opening Test against England at Lord’s starting today, as they begin the arduous task of retaining the Botham-Richards Trophy.

At the start of the year, the 23-year-old Louis was yet to feature in a single first-class game but a prolific Championship season for Leeward Islands Hurricanes where he subsequently emerged the tournament’s leading scorer with 682 runs at an average of 48, saw him force his way into the touring squad.

A half-century in last week’s tour fixture against a County XI further strengthened his claim. He will now see action at the highest level after only seven first-class matches, becoming the first cricketer from St Kitts to turn out in a Test for West Indies.

Louis is one of several rookies who will line up for the first time in testing English conditions, alongside the likes of batsmen Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, and Kavem Hodge.

McKenzie, 23, has only played three Tests while Athananze, 25, has featured in four. The 31-year-old Hodge, meanwhile, has played in just two Tests.

Opener Mikyle Louis is set to make his debut in the opening Test at Lord’s.

Despite the dearth of experience in his batting group, captain and veteran opener Kraigg Brathwaite said much was still expected of them.

“I think they’re young and exciting. Kirk McKenzie got a few 50s in Australia which was good and also good [was that] Kavem Hodge got a nice 80-odd … in Australia,” Brathwaite told reporters on the eve of the three-Test series.

“At least that gives Alick Athanaze some confidence to show him that he can do it as well.

“And the challenge for us obviously is to do it consistently, and I think the more games they play they will be better. They have a lot of talent and they know we are fully 100 per cent behind them.”

The 31-year-old Brathwaite will be turning out in his 90th Test of a career that has yielded 5,513 runs and 12 hundreds, and is expected to anchor the batting group with his experience.

Known for his occupation of the crease, Brathwaite finds himself surrounded by dashers like Athanaze and McKenzie both of whom score quickly, while all-rounder Jason Holder and wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva are also capable of pushing the scoring along.

With England expected to brandish their own attacking brand, labelled ‘Bazball’, Brathwaite said West Indies’ batsmen would opt for their individual approaches to scoring.

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