Important to select players when “in-form”- Harper

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By Akeem Greene

Chairman of West Indies Men’s senior selection panel, Roger Harper, has clarified that the Panel is keen on looking at players’ current form when selecting squads.

Harper’s comments came via a recent exclusive interview with News Room Sport on what is the current selection policy, given the new faces which have surfaced in a West Indies 30-man training squad for the potential three-Test series in England.

Of the 30, ten players have no Test experience and would have had one of their most productive Regional Four-Day seasons during this year’s truncated eight rounds.

Nkrumah Bonner (523 runs), Paul Palmer Jr (432 runs), Marquino Mindley (24 wickets), Joshua da Silva (507 runs and 13 dismissals), Anderson Phillip (21 wickets), Preston McSween (31 wickets), Shayne Mosely (490 runs), Chemar Holder (36 wickets), Keon Harding (29 wickets) and Kyle Mayers (654 runs) are those players who excelled.

A look at the 2018-19 season would see most of these players outside of the top 10 performers in either runs or wickets. Phillip was ranked eighth with 28 scalps– the third-highest by a seamer.

The current approach to selection is somewhat different from the modus operandi of the previous man in charge, Courtney Browne.

In 2018 Browne stated “a player is required to show consistent performances for at least a two-year period (ideally three) to be placed in the elite squad. And then the player is managed based on the role they play in the team over time.”

Browne felt this approach would help players produce more consistent performances, thereby creating a second tier of well-prepared players to put selection pressure on the incumbents.

Some players who spoke to News Room Sport had the belief the aforementioned still applied to their selection, however, Harper who was appointed to the job in October 2019 along with Miles Bascombe and Head Coach Phil Simmons added clarity.

“The current selection panel sees current performance as critical to selection as it is important to select players when they are “in-form”.  However, the panel is also informed by the track record of the player,” Harped explained.

For players, who would have consistent runs but had an in-different 2020 season in the Four-Day format, the former West Indies Head Coach insisted the door is not closed for players outside of this pool.

“This 30-man squad was selected specifically with this tour and its unique circumstances in mind.  A player not in this squad should not feel that they will not be considered going forward but need to keep on working hard and keep on performing at a high level.”

Based on reports, the increased squad pool is a result of England Cricket Board’s proposal of a “bio secure” venue. It means therefore, West Indies would not be afforded net bowlers from England or having to fly in replacements in the case of injuries.

Cricket West Indies Chief Executive Officer, Johnny Grave, had stated they will name the touring squad should the series be confirmed, possibly for July.

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