WI Tri-Nation squad selection baffling
Says Avenash Ramzan
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Selection Panel on Wednesday announced a 14-man squad to represent the region in the upcoming Tri-Series involving Australia and South Africa, but yet again the selections have raised eyebrows.
‘You must play the domestic competitions to be eligible for selection to the West Indies team’ has been the mantra of the Clive Lloyd-led Selection Panel and the West Indies Cricket Board. But after carefully perusing the squad, it is clear they have once again used a different songbook.
The NAGICO Super50, the region’s lone 50-over tournament, was played in January, and it was widely assumed that the best players from that competition would be chosen to represent the region. However, that is clearly not the case.
For starters, the Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who did not play a match in the competition, has been given a recall. The world over is aware of the exploits of Pollard, but did he meet the selection criteria? The simple answer is no.
The same can be said of spinner Sunil Narine, who has been included after missing the Super50 over issues with his bowling action.
If missing the Super50 still guarantees selection to the West Indies team, then Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy should feel cheated since they would be watching the Tri-Nation Series from the sidelines.
Interestingly enough, two Guyanese players, who played the Super50 and were actually among the top performers, have been given the cold shoulder.
Left-handed opener Assad Fudadin scored 259 runs in seven innings at an average of 51.80 with a hundred and a fifty, second only to Darren Bravo’s 274 in three innings.
Compatriot and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, one of the most prolific bowlers in regional cricket for the past five years, picked up 14 wickets, joint second to Sulieman Benn’s 15. Benn has gotten the nod for the Tri-Nation Series.
If Pollard and Narine have been selected on reputation- as that seems the only logical reason they have been included- then what is the Selection Panel saying to Fudadin and Permaul?
The squad is Jason Holder (Captain), Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor.
The Tri-Series will be held from June 3-26 with matches in Guyana, St Kitts and Barbados.