Emergency man Mohammed leads virus-hit West Indies in Bangladesh

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Jason Mohammed (Photo by Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images)
Jason Mohammed (Photo by Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images)

Jason Mohammed last played for West Indies more than two years ago, but with coronavirus fears causing several players to stay at home, he will lead the Caribbean side again in a key series against Bangladesh starting on Wednesday.

Regular captain Jason Holder and other stars such as Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo all refused to travel, so Mohammed got another call-up.

The 34-year-old also led West Indies Twenty20 side on a tour of Pakistan in 2018 when the stars refused to go, that time over security fears.

West Indies will play three one-day internationals and two Tests in Bangladesh, starting with the first 50-over game in Mirpur on Wednesday.

"It is a good opportunity for me to have a good series, and put my hands up for when the full strength team is back, so I can really get my place back in that team," said Mohammed.

"Sometimes things come in different ways. I just have to grab this opportunity and make the best use of it, and lead the team to the best of my ability," he added.

With Holder, Pollard, Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran all backing out and all-rounder Romario Shepherd and spinner Hayden Walsh having contracted coronavirus, Mohammed is leading a patched-up side.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has backed the Trinidad batsman. who will lead the visitors in at least the ODI series.

"I think he has a good cricket brain. He has captained quite a few West Indies' age-group teams and also captained Trinidad," said Simmons.

'Pedigree and ability'

"He has that pedigree and ability. I am just expecting him to lead from the front."

The stakes are high for both sides as the one-day series will mark the start of the qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.

West Indies may be weakened but Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo says they must still be taken seriously.

"We can't expect West Indies to roll over," the South African said.

"They might be an inexperienced international side but a lot of them have played Caribbean Premier League and domestic cricket. They have very good records. We cannot take them for granted.

"It is a big series for us. World Cup qualifying points are up for grabs. We want to make sure that we can start our campaign really well."

Simmons said the series is "mighty important" because of the start of the World Cup Super League. West Indies had to go through playoffs to reach the last World Cup.

"We don't want to get into the playoffs anymore. We need to start well," Simmons insisted.

The other one day games are on 22 and 25 January in Dhaka and Chittagong. There will be two Test matches in February.

Bangladesh squad:

Tamim Iqbal (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Najmul Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mahmudullah Riyad, Afif Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hassan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mahedi Hasan, Hasan Mahmud and Shoriful Islam.

West Indies squad:

Jason Mohammed (capt), Sunil Ambris, Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Andre McCarthy, Kjorn Ottley, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Keon Harding.

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