St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda) (AFP) – Andre Russell is set to play international cricket for the first time in over a year after being named in the West Indies squad on Tuesday for upcoming T20 series against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

The T20 World Cup holders play the three five-match home series this summer as preparation for their title defence in India.

Big-hitting all-rounder Russell last played for the Windies in a T20 international in Sri Lanka in March 2020.

He impressed in the suspended Indian Premier League with the bat and his death bowling.

Veteran batsman Chris Gayle also makes the 18-man list, despite the 41-year-old struggling for runs against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

Left-hander Shimron Hetmyer, like Russell, has been recalled.

“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 West Indies coach Phil Simmons.

The Caribbean outfit, two-time world T20 champions, play five games in Grenada against South Africa from June 26, with the series against Australia starting on July 9 in St Lucia.

They then face Pakistan in Barbados on July 27 and 28 before three matches in Guyana.

The T20 World Cup is scheduled to get underway on October 18.

West Indies squad:

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