PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
The 25-year-old last represented the Caribbean nine months ago at the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates but a combination of fitness issues and family commitments has since kept him out of the maroon colours.
Hetmyer is of two major changes to the squad which trounced Bangladesh last month, with leading all-rounder Jason Holder returning to the side after being rested.
“We welcome back Hetmyer and it is good to see him again in West Indies colours,” chief selector Desmond Haynes said.
“He will fortify the batting group and, with his experience and adaptability, we have a ‘finisher’ who can add value and win matches for the team and delight the supporters.
Hetmyer played a full season of the Indian Premier League where he scored 314 runs at an average of nearly 45 for Rajasthan Royals.
For West Indies, he has notched three half-centuries in 42 T20Is, with a strike rate of 118.
There is no return, however, for left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell who is still on the mend following injury, nor for left-arm spinning all-rounder Fabien Allen, who is also unavailable for “personal reasons”.
Rookie left-arm seamer Dominic Drakes, who played the last of his six T20Is against Bangladesh, has forced his way into the squad again.
“Everything we do, we have to take into consideration we have a big tournament coming up later this year, which is the ICC T20 World Cup, so we are planning and gearing up towards that event,” Haynes said.
“It is good to give the players some exposure to the international stage and look to find the right combinations.”
Friday’s opener is set for the Brian Lara Stadium here, while Warner Park in St Kitts will host back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday.
The series will wrap up in Florida with the final games at the Central Broward Park Stadium on August 6 and 7.
Following the India series, the 16-man squad will travel to Jamaica for the three-match T20I series against New Zealand at Sabina Park which runs from August 10-14.
An official 13-man squad will be named ahead of each match.