THE interim selection panel of Cricket West Indies (CWI) has named West Indies-A One-Day and (Four-Day) ‘Test’ squads for the India-A Tour of the West Indies, starting next month.Three Guyanese players have been named in the Windies-A One-Day squad. They are Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford and pacer Romario Shepherd.The A-squads comprise a combination of players with international match experience – headed by the likes of Kraigg Brathwaite and Roston Chase – excellent performances in regional competitions over the last few years – and led by the irrepressible Leeward Islands Hurricanes spin-bowling all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall.The squads were chosen by the interim selection panel, chaired by Robert Haynes with the assistance of former West Indies opener Stuart Williams and former Barbados Pride chairman of selectors Hendy Wallace. Additional input was provided by interim West Indies head coach Floyd Reifer and captain Jason Holder.With the series acting as a trial for a number of hopefuls for both teams and overlapping with the series duel between the senior teams of the two sides, West Indies-A will make five changes to the squad for the final ‘Test’.Keemo PaulNine of the 15 players in the One-Day squad have played One-Day Internationals for the senior West Indies team, 10 of the players in the squad for the first and second ‘Tests’ have played full international Tests for the senior side and six Test players will appear in the third match.The selection panel has named Chase as captain to lead the One-Day side in the series of five One-Day matches, all set to be played in Antigua at the Coolidge and Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds.The captaincy of the ‘Test’ squad will be split between Test opener Brathwaite for the first two of the three ‘Tests’ and fellow Barbados Pride batsman Shamarh Brooks for the last match of the series, which will be played at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad.Brathwaite, fellow opener John Campbell, Chase, Cornwall and wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich will leave to join the senior team’s preparation camp for the two-Test series between West Indies and India which starts on August 22 in Antigua.On the appointment of Chase as One-Day captain, Haynes said: “The discussion was based on our desire to expose leadership in order to be able to have a wider pool of players with such experience. In our estimation, Roston is the right person to lead the team during this series as one of the players with significant international experience and we believe that the experience can be personally beneficial as well for his game.”On the appointment of Brathwaite and Brooks as Four-Day captains, Haynes said: “As the incumbent vice-captain of the senior West Indies Test team, this will allow Kraigg to continue to get the opportunity to develop his leadership skills and he is best placed to galvanise the team during these vital games for our preparation.“Shamarh has been captaining the A-team for some time now and as such it would be best for continuity that he gains more exposure in this role.”On the A-Team players for the ‘Test’ series, Haynes said: “It was felt that the regular Test players who are available should play the first and second Four-Day matches of this series. This would be part of their preparation for the upcoming senior team Tests against the Indian senior team, as they would have had limited red-ball match practice in recent times.“As such, the squad for the third Four-Day match will have five replacement players. This will allow the regular Test players to gain recovery time before they enter the preparation camp for the Tests against the Indian senior team.”SQUADS:ONE-DAY – Roston Chase (captain), Sunil Ambris, John Campbell, Jonathan Carter, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Akeem Jordan, Kjorn Ottley, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Devon Thomas.1st & 2nd TESTS – Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Sunil Ambris, Jermaine Blackwood, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shermon Lewis, Raymon Reifer, Jomel Warrican.3rd TEST – Shamarh Brooks (captain), Sunil Ambris, Jermaine Blackwood, Miguel Cummins, Akim Frazer, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Chemar Holder, Brandon King, Shermon Lewis, Raymon Reifer, Jeremy Solozano, Jomel Warrican.
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Junior outside hitter and first team All-American Khalia Lanier prepares to serve an ace. (Daily Trojan file photo)The women’s volleyball team begins its 2018 campaign in the Trojan Invitational at Galen Center on Friday with a match against the University of Kentucky. The team will also face Creighton and Northern Iowa on Saturday in the round-robin tournament. Ranked 10th in the AVCA national preseason coaches poll and second in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, the Trojans field a strong team in 2018. They are led by junior outside hitter Khalia Lanier, last season’s leader in points and kills, and senior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley, 2017’s leader in assists. Also returning are senior libero Victoria Garrick, who was first on the team in digs and third in assists, and senior middle blocker Brittany Welsh, third on the team in blocks.The Trojans lost a true star in All-American opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie, who was second on the team in both kills and blocks. With Abercrombie showcasing her talents with the Team USA Pan Am Cup preliminary roster instead, the Trojans will need to find a suitable replacement if they want to live up to their ranking.USC has added five freshmen to this year’s squad. Middle blocker Abby Hansen, at 6-foot-4, is an intimidating presence with the potential to be an offensive force. Setters Ashley Humphreys, who went undefeated throughout her high school varsity career, and Raquel Lazaro, who won two Spanish National Championship gold medals, also join the fray. The newcomers are topped off with powerhouse outside hitter Brooklyn Schirmer, who comes off winning a club national championship and competing for Redondo Union High School. These aren’t the only new faces, however. This weekend will also mark the beginning of the Brent Crouch era. The newly minted head coach, who inherited a winless Portland team in 2014 and led them to their winningest season in 25 years by 2016, was given the top job in January. In addition, middle blocker Jasmine Gross transferred to USC for her junior season. Gross excelled in her two years at Pepperdine, earning All-West Coast Conference first-team honors twice and ranking fourth in the nation in blocks per set in 2017 with 1.52.The Trojans take on fifth-ranked Kentucky in their first game of the season Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats are an aggressive and dangerous offensive team, finishing fourth in both hitting percentage and kills per set a season ago. They return their top two leaders in points in junior outside hitter Leah Edmond and sophomore outside hitter Avery Skinner.This is a tough opponent for the Trojans to face in their opening game. Kentucky is prolific, having made it to the quarterfinals of last year’s NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship tournament, and should only improve as its young stars mature. However, the Trojans should be able to put up at least a good fight, as they made it just as far in last season’s bracket.USC faces Northern Iowa the following morning at 10:30 a.m. The Panthers are unranked but not to be underestimated. They boast the high-scoring hitter duo of Piper Thomas and Karlie Taylor, who combined for an incredible 1,166 points last season. They rode these two stars to the most kills per set in the nation in 2017. Northern Iowa set up Thomas and Taylor well, ranking second in assists per set a year ago.UNI did have to replace leading server Bri Weber, however, so the Trojans should look to take advantage of any shortcomings early in plays. Finally, the Trojans play 13th-ranked Creighton Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. The Bluejays are another strong offensive team, albeit not as intimidating as Kentucky or UNI. They ranked 14th in hitting percentage and 18th in kills per set in 2017. Creighton also returns its two best scorers from last season in senior outside hitters Jaali Winters and Taryn Kloth, both of whom topped 350 kills. Liberos Brittany Witt and Samantha Bohnet, who each had at least 28 service aces and 109 assists, will be leading its defense.This weekend is a test to see what the Trojans are made of. Their performance against two top-12 teams in the country and perhaps the best offensive team in the nation should be a good indicator of just how good USC can be this season.