Powell hoping inter-squad knock returns him to Test fold

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PACKED AND READY: Kieran Powell is hoping for a return to the Test fold.

GROS ISLET, St Lucia – Kieran Powell has not featured in a Test for West Indies in 2-½ years but hopes his 95 in the just concluded West Indies inter-squad four-day match will be enough to convince selectors of his readiness again for the highest level.

The left-hander batted with assurance on Wednesday’s third day to lay the foundation for completing Jahmar Hamilton’s XI’s successful run chase on Thursday, the side overhauling a target of 311 to win by three wickets at the Daren Sammy National Stadium.

Powell, a veteran of 40 Tests, faced 175 deliveries in 3-¾ hours and struck 11 fours and a six before skying off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall to cover with three figures in sight.

“I’m not sure where it (the innings) leaves me, but I hope it’s a position of strength,” said the 31-year-old, with a squad to face South Africa in next week’s first Test set to be selected shortly.

“There’s only been one century in the match. I think this is the second-highest score if I’m not mistaken, so hopefully, I can get into the squad, and then we’ll take it from there.

“I’ve been wanting to get back into the team for some time now and spending time and showing application; I’m hoping there’s some reward for that.”

Powell had gotten a start in the first innings making 22 before also gifting his wicket as Hamilton’s XI were dismissed for a disappointing 178.

But the Leeward Islands opener said with the pitch playing its best halfway through the contest, it was important he capitalized on the opportunity.

“I wanted just to spend some time at the wicket, obviously having seen the pitch from the first innings and how it improved over the days,” he explained.

“I think that Wednesday was the best time to bat on the pitch, so I just wanted to give myself a chance. We started [the second innings] just before lunch, so the first objective was to get to lunch and return. 

“I thought once I got in, I was pretty much in control, and I think I have been batting well for some time now, so I just wanted to maximize on that.”

Powell garnered 429 runs at an average of 30 with three half-centuries in the last first-class season, which ended abruptly last year with two rounds remaining due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was subsequently overlooked for last year’s three-Test tour of England and described his exclusion then as “disheartening.”

Powell averages 26 in Tests with three hundred – two of which came in one match against Bangladesh in 2012.

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