OP-ED: GCB questions selection policy of CWI selection panel

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The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) on Friday issued a statement, questioning the selection policy of Cricket West Indies (CWI), highlighting specifically the 13-man squad selected for the first Test against England, starting January 23 in Barbados.

The squad has one Guyanese, Shimron Hetmyer. Below is the full statement issued by the Board.

Once again, the Guyana Cricket Board is compelled to express its extreme disgust with the lopsided and illogical approach displayed by the CWI selectors with their selection of the Test team for the first Test against the visiting English team in Barbados.

 This team was released to the public on January 15th and the Test commences on January 23rd, 2019. This is the second time in six months that we are having a genuine cause to question the ridiculous selection policies and practices of the CWI selection panel, headed by Mr. Courtney Browne.

 We have been literally bombarded with calls for us to explain this outrageous situation and just cannot fathom a plausible explanation.

 Firstly, we note that the administrators arranged two two-day tour matches to be held on January 15th and 16th and January 17th and 18th prior to the first test.

 Of note is that the tour matches, and practice matches are all being played in Barbados so there is no issue of travelling being an impediment for logistics. Can the selection panel advise us why the haste in selecting the team eight days in advance of a very important series at home?

 The second tour match was slated to conclude on Jan 18th, a clear five days before the first Test. Can you explain why the team was not selected at the end of the second tour match? Or were those matches arranged just to facilitate practice for the English team and had no bearing on the minds of the CWI selectors?

 The GCB strongly feels that all teams should be selected on a firm set of criteria, chief among them should be: Performance, Fitness, Form, Attitude, Aptitude, Team Balance, Ground Conditions, Commitment, Training and a few other reasonable subjective considerations.

 We at the GCB have been practicing these traits in the selection of our representative teams which have served us well with the structure that we have developed with our contracted and Academy players.

 Our structure now involves a domestic franchise system within the regional franchise system. The GCB has fully embraced the CWI PCL franchise system, ever since its inception in 2014, and have thus reaped rewards for the fruits of our labor by winning the PCL R4D for four consecutive years and well on track to make it five in a row this year.

 We do accept that you can never satisfy everyone all the time, but you should always endeavour to execute your duties in the interest of West Indies cricket. What do we tell our players who have displayed year-round commitment and dedication coupled with outstanding performances when they are constantly being sidelined?

 Since the selection panel has unilaterally decided to disregard the two tour matches for their selection, any prudent person would have expected that the panel would have looked at recent performances and form to guide their deliberations but, lo and behold, that was not to be.

 Barring Darren Bravo, no other top or middle order batsman in the selected team has an average more than 35.22. The whole principle of the franchise system was geared to improve the standard of our cricketers whereby these ‘test’ players would be kept on their toes by the emerging players with great performances and form given precedence and a fair opportunity to play.

 All players deserve a fair run in the team, especially in this era of shortened series of just two and three Test matches, but our Jaguars’ players seem to be discarded by the selection panel after just two or three Tests.

 It is a well-known fact that it is always better to blood new players at home rather than on foreign soil so that they get that added confidence from their home crowds and their intimate knowledge of the regional wickets.

 It follows that if we do not have the caliber of Test players with the required level of performances to be selected, we need to then look at the emerging players from the PCL.

 A cursory view of the stats on the CWI website would demand that the following players be called up for duty with the CWI President’s XI or the Test team immediately: Chandrapaul Hemraj, Vishal Singh, Anthony Bramble, Keemo Paul and Veerasammy Permaul.

 There may be a case to be made for a few others such as Clinton Pestano and Romario Shepherd. It is not our intention to demand places for our players in the Test team without any justification, but once their performances warrant such selection, then so be it.

 The GCB welcomes the decision of the panel to bring back our best Test batsman, Darren Bravo, and trust that the selectors follow the strict selection criteria outlined above as only justice and fair play will develop our players to be hungry for success which will ultimately translate into success for our WI team. 

 We also welcome our captain, Jason Holder, back into the fold after injury.

 (An official release by the Guyana Cricket Board)

 RELATED LINK: https://newsroom.gy/2019/01/15/maiden-call-ups-for-brooks-and-campbell/

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